DDR has tips for masks, offers free doggie daycare for frontline heroes

As we're still adjusting to putting our mask on every time we go into a store or out among people, so our dogs - and it has an interesting effect on dogs.

The Detroit Dog Rescue is preparing for a big 'empty the shelter' event this weekend and executive director Kristina Rinaldi said while they're in masks and getting things ready, dogs have noticed.

"Dogs, all animals, they feed off our emotions. So when we're stressed or we're feeling depressed from being in quarantine - all the things that we're going through - they can go through as well and they feed off our facial expressions just like they feed off our emotions," she said.

Things they usually see and respond to - our facial cues - are gone. So Rinaldi said work had to be done.

"We did a total lockdown at the beginning. We had our PPE gear, but we had to train some of these dogs to be okay wearing a face mask," she said. "They can't see our facial expression, they might not know who we are, sometimes dogs don't even like when you wear a baseball hat so now you're covering up half your face."

Rinaldi says she's seen the same phenomenon outside of the shelter and recommends conditioning your dog to associate the face masks with their favorite food. So, every time you put it on, they get a treat.

"It's basic doggy psychology. We're equating the face mask with something good and pretty soon your dog will want you to wear a face mask all the time," Rinaldi said.

While all of our dogs need us, our medical workers and first responders need a friendly tail to come home to as well. So Rinaldi's organization is helping out there, too.

"We're supplying doggy daycare through Canine to Five for first responders and medical staff - free doggy daycare," Rinaldi said.

With so many people on the frontlines working such long hours, dogs are missing their people and routines. So DDR is accepting donations to get hose dogs some extra special care.

"A lot of medical staff and first responders are working extended hours and for those dogs they're home alone (for) 12 hours. So we do have a free program. Go to our website, detroitdogrescue.com, to see how you can get free doggy day care and anything we can do for these guys to keep them happy. It's good for us and it's good for them."

If you're not a first responder but want to help, you can donate on the DDR's site as well by clicking here.