It is a well-known fact that classical music calms canines. A Broadway violinist decided to use his talent to help rescue dogs recover from abuse.
After his work hours, Martin Agee takes his violin and gives it a whole new purpose, helping rescue dogs. He volunteers at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and plays classical music to relax dogs and comfort them.
By playing Bach, Mozart, and Handel, he makes the dogs instantly stop barking, ease their mind, curl up in their beds, and listen to the incredible sounds.
The renowned violinist has played for more than 40 famous Broadway cast albums – from The Color Purple to Legally Blonde, he participated and became a part of the Broadway history.
After his beloved greyhound died, he was inspired to volunteer at the ASPCA. The 12-year-friendship was a huge part of his life, and when he passed, there was a hole in his heart. Seeing people walking down the street with their greyhounds broke his heart.
He knew he needed to make new connections with animals in order to move on. What better way to distract yourself than helping abused pooches recover? He began going to a training course at the ASPCA Animal Recovery Center, where he learned about a program in which people read to dogs recovering from abuse. It was a lightbulb moment for him.
That was when he started his inspiring side-project. Agee sits down while there’s chaos and barking on the background. And as he gets his violin out and plays the first note, just to tune his violin, the chaos stops; the rescue dogs stop running around and barking.
The dogs are surrounded by plexiglass doors, so they can see Agee plays for them. He sits on a stool outside their doors, and some of them stare at him.
Agee finds it hard to look at them at times because some of them have been through horrible abuse and mistreatment, as some are still recovering from visible injuries.
The director of applied behavior research on the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team, Victoria Cussen, says that live classical music has been proven to decrease the stress level in shelter dogs.
The dogs’ response is usually lying down and quietly listening as he plays for them. For some, it takes only 30 seconds to be curled up in front of the doors or on their beds.