We like programs that help homeless pets by breaking down old ways of thinking — like the idea that shelter dogs need to stay in shelters! That’s why we’re supporting field-trip programs, which get dogs out of shelters for a few hours or even days.
These programs have countless benefits:
- They relieve stress for the dogs, and tire them out so they’re better behaved when they get back to their kennels.
- They let volunteers collect valuable information about (and take adorable photos and videos of) the dogs in real-world settings.
- They get the dogs out into their communities, and their adorable faces in front of potential adopters.
- They attract new volunteers and adopters by offering a low-stakes way to hang out with the dogs.
When Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) debuted its field-trip program, the line to volunteer stretched down the block! “The BoroughBreak is a great way to not only give the animals much-needed time out of the shelter, but to gain deeper insight into their behavior from our fosters and volunteers,” says the shelter’s Jennifer DiClemente, “who become adoption ambassadors for great dogs like Bundles.”
ACC’s grant from the Petfinder Foundation will fund the purchase of no-pull harnesses so that volunteers can feel confident handling dogs who need to practice leash manners or have energy to burn — the same dogs who benefit most from getting out of the shelter.
Denison Animal Welfare Group (DAWG) received a Petfinder Foundation grant to purchase supplies such as collars, leashes, and ID tags for its field-trip dogs. The program has been a game-changer for the Texas shelter: “Dogs are receiving more visitors and increased visibility in our community,” says President Stephanie Phillips.
“Hold times are shorter, adoptions are occurring quicker,” and other organizations are more likely to pull dogs thanks to an abundance of information about them, she adds, including “videos, report cards, likes and dislikes, and things the volunteers might not have observed in a shelter setting.”
“The program does so much for our dogs,” says Mirah Horowitz, Executive Director of Hawaii’s Kauai Humane Society, which also received a Field Trip Grant. “It gives them a much-needed break from the stress and boredom of living in the shelter. It improves their socialization by getting them out in new environments and with new people. And, it some lucky dogs’ cases, it results in a forever home!”
One such lucky dog was Ping. “His family was living on Kauai for a temporary work assignment and took him out on multiple field trips. As they were getting ready to return to the mainland, the adopter’s children decided to surprise their mom on Mother’s Day with the gift of unconditional love. The family adopted Ping, and now he is living his best life on the East Coast!”
Since launching its program in July, The Animal Foundation in Las Vegas has sent more than 150 dogs on field trips to restaurants, parks, and even family holiday gatherings. “These temporary breaks have helped many of our dogs better cope with living in the shelter as they await their forever homes,” says Development Manager Amy Wiles.
The shelter will use its Petfinder Foundation grant to purchase booties for field-trip dogs. “They will protect the dogs’ paws as they venture out into our uniquely hot Las Vegas climate with its scorching surfaces,” Wiles says.
With your help, we can get more dogs out of shelters, where they can de-stress, show off their true personalities and meet potential forever families.