Ohio Shelter Builds A ‘Real Life Room’ For Dogs To Make Them Feel At Home

Shelter Creates a Real Life Room

An Ohio animal shelter has come up with an ingenious way to help homeless dogs feel more “at home” during their shelter stay. The Toledo Area Humane Society built a Real Life Room which was made to look like, well, just what is says…a real life room.

Dogs who visit this specially created room will find things that are missing from their shelter kennel runs…things like a fuzzy rug, a basket of toys, a soft dog bed, television and a comfy human chair. The area is designed to give dogs a place to relax, unwind and chill.


The Real Life Room provides welcome relief to dogs who are overly stressed in their kennel runs, and it also helps give shelter staff the opportunity to observe the dogs in a more natural, homelike setting. Seeing a more relaxed side of the dogs gives staff and volunteers better insight to the type of home (and family) the dogs are best suited for.

Stephen Heaven, President and Ceo of the shelter, told the Toledo Blade:

“They all handle the stress of sheltering differently; some get really amped up, some sort of become very introverted. It’s nice to give those guys a break.”

The shelter introduced Facebook followers to the Real Life Room on September 23, explaining the reason for the room’s creation:

A stay in a shelter is one of the hardest times in a dogs life. They can sometimes be in a shelter for an extended period of time. During that time they can develop undesirable behaviors. Here at the shelter we want to do everything we can to help them stay as happy as possible while in our care. One way to do that is to get them out of the kennel environment and into a quiet home like environment.

Cubbie gets a home

The Real Life Room is working its charm on dogs like Cubbie, who was quite anxious in his kennel run. Cubbie morphed into a different (relaxed!!) dog when he visited the Real Life Room and the transformation ultimately helped him find a forever home. On October 11, the shelter shared word of Cubbie’s adoption:

FINALLY Cubbie’s family found him 🙂 this special dog has been waiting for a little over a month to find his forever family. He is the star of TAHS’s new #realliferoom. Cubbie deserves all the love and attention he can possibly handle. Such a patient guy– looks like it paid off, Cubbie. What a great family you found yourself!

Find the Toledo Area Humane Society on Facebook here. Find the shelter’s website here.

(Photos Toledo Area Humane Society)

Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at Examiner.com for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.

1 comment

  1. Maria Pelcin says:

    We adopted our wonderful dog from there in February 2003 . His name was Bart but we name him Manny . He sadly pass away last year . But he was the best baby we could ever have .

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