In-kennel enrichment is an integral part of our animals’ everyday routine. “Enrichment” is the action of improving or enhancing the quality or value of something. Taste, sound, sight, smell, touch: we try to engage every aspect of our cats’ and dogs’ senses to improve the quality of their stays at Harbor.

Seven days a week, our staff is filling Kongs, blowing bubbles, brushing, passing out scented stuffies and so much more. Naturally we go through a lot of materials keeping our cats and dogs happy and healthy. You can help keep our enrichment program running by donating key items.


Anything yummy we can offer to our cats and dogs! Some of our taste enrichment items also satisfy the scavenging instincts for our animals.

Snuffle mats, stuffed Kongs, Busy Buckets, tuna treats, olives, and stuffed paper bags are just some of the taste enrichment items we have for our cats and dogs. We are always looking for new ideas and safe foods for our animals to provide a novel taste experience.

Food items we go through often are peanut butter (creamy), puree pumpkin (plain), canned seafood and chicken, olive (non-stuffed), squeeze cheese, meat baby food (no garlic or onion), dog-safe broth (low sodium), mini marshmallows, freeze dried meat treats, mini and small milk bones and denta chews.

Our dogs need vessels to deliver these tasty treats! We often use brown paper bags, dixie cups, Kongs, West Paw, and lick mats.


Sound enrichment is provided daily for our animals. The ‘sound’ changes daily and is only played during our open hours. Classical music and ‘calm talking’ has a direct correlation to decreased arousal levels in cats and dogs. This effect can be seen by the animals spending more time resting in relaxed positions and less vocalizations.

Our cats and dogs have separate playlists of classical music, nature sounds, and audiobooks and podcasts to keep them entertained! We also welcome visitors to sit with our dogs and cats and read to them! Children are especially welcomed!


While scent enrichment is often equated to canine wellbeing, it is also incredibly stress relieving for cats! A dogs’ sense of smell is their tool for gathering information and navigating the environment, but do not forget that a cat’s sense of smell is almost as sensitive as a dog’s. Exploring offered scents requires several regions of the brain, but the most important link is that of emotion, memory and pleasure.

Scents are given to our cats and dogs via pet-friendly essential oils, extracts and dried herbs applied to soft toys, balled coffee filters, and small fabric squares.

Scents our animals love are basil, dill, cilantro, rosemary, frankincense, lavender, chamomile, banana, orange, vanilla, almond, and cat nip.


Touch is primarily a cat enrichment tool, but our dogs also enjoy their one-on-one time with staff and volunteers!

Touch is built into daily care of our dogs and cats, but they also get something extra special on Touch enrichment days! Our dogs frequently get grooming TLC from staff and volunteers. We occasionally need a refresh on our dog nail trimmers, cat nail trimmers, grooming blades, and shampoo supply. Our cats enjoy brushes attached to the insides of their kennels so that they can groom themselves at their leisure. Of course, that isn’t all. Our cats love rubber brushes, bristle brushes, toothbrushes, feathers, and paint rollers!


Toys, people, same-species playgroups! We provide our animals with whichever type of play they enjoy best. While we always need more volunteers (sign up today!) and we have plenty of animals, we really need help providing toys the most!

New, used, homemade, our animals love them all. Our cats are especially fans of DIY cat toys. It can be as simple as a cut toilet paper tube or as intricate as braided fabric. These projects are great for kids! Our dogs always enjoy nylabones, plush toys, XL ropes, tennis balls, soccer balls, and anything else they can sink their teeth into!


While some of our animals require formal training sessions, a lot of them only need exposure. One of the easiest ways to interact and “train” our dogs is by walking through kennels and tossing a cookie under the door of a calm and quiet pooch. We also welcome volunteers to bring our resident dogs through the Canine Classes we offer on Saturdays.

We are always in need of treats! It is hard for us to keep our shelves stocked. Some treats we love are Pup-Peroni, Nudges, True Chew, and soft Milk Bones. Basically, soft and stinky!

While not always used in training, our cats love treats too! Best hits are Silver Vines, Greenies, and freeze dried meat treats!


The quality of our work is the quality of their lives. We strive to make our animals stay with us as short and positive as possible. We are just a short stop on their way to their forever home!