This animal shelter plays music for the animals? Here’s why

If you have ever been to the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter in Newport News, you may have noticed it can be noisy with dogs barking, especially during adoption hours.

But have you ever noticed the music?

On Tuesday, the animal shelter asked for donations in the form of CD players.

Bridgette Dugan, a shelter coordinator, said it’s part of the shelter’s enrichment program to have background music for the animals, something the shelter has been doing since it opened five years ago.

“We have an overhead music system in our areas,” Dugan said. “We put additional players in the room.”

The music is mostly classical but can be scenic sounds like waves crashing.

“It’s typically soft, soothing music,” Dugan said. “Sometimes we’ll do Christmas music, too.”

While she is sure there is some science behind it, she didn’t know offhand. She said the music it plays all day, as in 24 hours.

But why CD players? Why not Spotify or another music streaming device?

Dugan said the sound system can connect to iTunes but since it’s a universal speaker, the volume is the same for each room: from the administration offices to the cat and dog rooms, which are equipped with a sound barrier and can be particularly loud.

“It works wells for the cats,” Dugan said, adding it can be very loud in the dog rooms.

If they use the universal system with an iPod or another streaming device, the volume would be extremely loud in the administration room and only “kind of loud” in the dog room.

Another reason CD players help is because they are portable and convenient.

“After awhile they do break,” Dugan said of the players. “I would definitely prefer a smaller system.”

She added some shelters actually play instruments for animals and last year, one of their volunteers would play piano in the mornings and on Tuesdays during adoption off-hours.

“Music is a universal language,” she said.

The Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter would like 10 or fewer CD players since they don’t have the space and would be open to a portable Bluetooth speaker or iTunes tower with a speaker.

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