The shelter is no place for an animal, yet millions of them across the globe are trapped behind bars. The shelter environment can cause a lot of stress for dogs, especially those who used to have homes and families.
Martin Agee, a dog lover, has had a long career as a professional violinist, playing for more than 30 years with ensembles such as the New York Chamber Symphony and the American Symphony Orchestra, as well as big acts like Madonna and Metallica.
But now, every week you can find him at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in New York City. It is there that he performs for the shelter dogs who are in their recovery center. These particular dogs were rescued from abusive pasts and struggle to socialize with humans.
His music has helped soothe these dogs and make them feel more at ease. I would walk into a vestibule with three or four kennels and there would be just chaos going on and the dogs are barking, and jumping on the glass, and as soon as I would start playing I would get an immediate reaction.
Within minutes of him playing, the dogs would quiet down and sit and listen to him play. Agee says that sometimes even some of the dogs join in and sing (howl) along with him.
“It’s been so rewarding for me from day one,” Agee continued. “The first time I went in I came out in tears, it was just so emotional to see.”