Michigan Shelter Pups Get a Burn-Free Dog Run

Shelter dogs test out their newly-AstroTurfed dog run.

The Humane Society of West Michigan has wonderful, long, spacious dog runs. However, the runs were filled with pea gravel that was burning the dogs’ paw pads when it got hot outside. Our Rescue U volunteers fixed that.

We took out five tons of gravel and leveled out the runs to get them ready to lay down AstroTurf. Thanks to the generous support of the Animal Rescue Site, we were able to purchase recycled turf from Duke University to install in these runs (it had been used in Duke’s football stadium!).

HSWM Executive Director Trudy Ender (front) helps install AstroTurf. (Source: HSWM’s Facebook page)

Installing it was no easy task. The turf was rolled into 75-90 ft. rolls that weighed approximately 600 lbs. each, meaning we rolled out about 3,000 lbs. of turf in one afternoon. Once it was rolled out we had to fold it and drag it into the pens. It took six of us just to move it and place it. The edges all had to be pounded into the gravel and the seams epoxied with a nasty, sticky green goop.

All in all, redoing the dog runs was three days of hard work, but the mission was accomplished! We also put thresholds in the doorways and re-installed the fence surrounding the runs.

We completed many other projects at the Humane Society of West Michigan. Now our student volunteers, who came from Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Kettering University in Flint, are getting ready to go back to school, and we’re grateful to them for giving up a week of their summer vacations to work morning to night to make the shelter a better place for all the wonderful pets there.

BONUS VIDEO: Rescue U founder Bryna Donnelly explains how the new agility course will help shelter dogs adjust to life in their adoptive homes:

Press coverage of the Rescue U build at HSWM:

August 24: Thanks to Rescue U, humane society animals get new digs (Press Unleashed)

Learn more about Rescue U.