Dakin Wins National High Five Contest!

by Lee Chambers

A video of a shelter cat at Dakin Humane Society giving a high five to a staff member has won the organization the grand prize in the first annual #CatPawsitive National High Five Day contest, presented by the Jackson Galaxy Cat Pawsitive Pro program.  Dakin will receive a $5,000 grant from GreaterGood.org, plus 10,000 bowls of pet food from Halo Pets, which will be delivered to Dakin’s Adoption & Education Center at 171 Union Street in Springfield, MA on Friday, May 11.

The contest allowed pet shelters and adopters nationwide to submit photos or videos of their cats giving a high five to people.  On Thursday, April 19 (National High Five Day), Jackson Galaxy, cat behaviorist and star of the television show “My Cat From Hell,” announced online that the Dakin video had taken top honors.

Dakin is one of 10 shelters nationwide that recently finished the Spring 2018 training session of the Jackson Galaxy Cat Pawsitive Pro program.  The program's goal is to train shelter employees to teach tricks to shelter cats including giving a high five, jumping through hoops and spinning around.  Learning the tricks enriches the cats’ lives while they’re in the shelter, and makes them more appealing to potential adopters.

“What's especially remarkable about Mimi, the cat featured in the video, is that she had been undergoing training in the Cat Pawsitive Pro program,” said Carmine DiCenso, executive director at Dakin Humane Society.  “She had mastered the high five, which she was initially delivering with her left front paw.  Unfortunately, halfway through the training period, Mimi had to undergo an amputation of her left front leg due to medical complications.  After a short recovery period, this incredible cat figured out how to balance herself while giving a high five with her right front leg.  Bethany Rose Terry, a Dakin staff member who took part in the training, shot a terrific video of a session that showed Mimi using her only front leg to deliver the high five, and that's what won the top prize.”

The grant amount, coupled with the 10,000 bowls of food, will arrive just as Dakin Humane Society begins its busiest season.  According to DiCenso, the animal population tends to triple during the late spring/summer season, with many animals arriving at Dakin in need of care and a new home.

The photos below capture the moment when the 10,000 bowls of food from Halo Pets was delivered to Dakin on May 11.  

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