Borrow a Best Friend From Your Local Shelter!
Sometimes you just want a little company. And hiking alone is not always a good idea. You will feel amazing and so will the dog.
Fortunately, this is a program being adopted by many Animal Shelters across the United States.
Call your local shelter today!
It was a beautiful fall day, perfect for going for a hike. So my friend Rebecca and I, and my dog Murray, stopped by a local animal shelter to pick up a dog to join us.
I’d heard about — and desperately wanted to try — programs that let visitors take shelter dogs out hiking.
Rebecca and I got Marla, the pit bull.
Marla — who is about 2 1/2 years-old was already suited up in a bandana and leash both reading “adopt me” since part of the point of these outings is to introduce adoptable dogs to potential new owners.Other benefits: Doggie time for people who love pets but can’t have one of their own, while the dogs get some exercise and socialization and love.
“The strength of the program is it’s manageable for people with overscheduled, busy lives,” said Kristen Auerbach, the Fairfax shelter’s spokesperson. “Most people don’t have weeks or months of time to dedicate to shelter pets, but most do have the hour or two it takes to give a shelter dog a much-needed break!”
Marla spent most of the drive licking my face — another point of the program is to see how the dog behaves in various situations. Marla behaves delightfully, we discovered.
Russet-colored Marla just trotted along being a very, very good dog, on our four-mile hike.
The sun was out. The dogs were happy, especially when we sat down for our picnic lunch and I gave them a little of my egg salad to nosh on.
Egypt was one of the shelter’s longest-term residents, who “met her future adopters as she was being walked back through the adoption lobby, happy and calm,” Kalina said. “Her usual presentation in the shelter was not the best, due to being cooped up in a cage so much of the time. The Ambassador Program allowed her to show her true self, closer to how she’d be in a home environment. Her adoptive family got to see that — and now they adore her!”
Rebecca and I were still feeling very sorry to let Marla go.
Fairfax’s Auerbach reassured us that, “One hundred percent of the time when dogs return, they settle down for a nice long nap.”
She also promised that every single one of the 100 or so dogs who have been taken out like this since the shelter started allowing it has found a home.
“There is something so healing and wonderful about giving a shelter dog a little love,” Auerbach said. “There is no other program that does more to help animals find their new families.”
Tip from HikingGazette.com: download this app from Walkzee to help you find shelters with this program: http://barkpost.com/walkzee/
Featured image from Crissy and Charlie Saunders of Walkzee
Thanks to Arin Greenwood and Huff Post for the article and the images within the article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arin-greenwood/shelter-dog-hiking_b_6041240.html