Have you ever been out on a hike or driving around town and wished that you had a furry friend to share the day with? With the Dawson County Humane Society’s “Dog Day Out” program, you can sign up to spend a day with one of the many dogs at the shelter.
According to Executive Director Jason Hutcherson, the Dog Day Out program is a win all the way around for the humane society, the dogs and those signing up to borrow a dog for a day.
“We’ve got our exercise yards in the back, but anytime we can get more enrichment for them it helps their overall behavior,” Hutcherson said. “It’s huge, it’s great and it gets them out of the shelter — it’s good for their mentality, good exercise for them and the volunteers who have done it always enjoy coming out.”
Hutcherson said that taking a dog out for a day can take many forms, from going swimming or hiking to just having a little extra company while driving around town.
“We’ve had a couple people take them up to Starbucks to get a puppuccino, we had one a couple months ago take the dog on a hike with them, or some people like to just put them in the car and ride around for a few hours,” Hutcherson said. “We put all the dogs in harnesses to give a little more control and security, and so far everything has worked out really well.”
In many cases, Hutcherson said that participating in Dog Day Out is a great way for those who are interested in adoption to “test run” the relationship with a potential new family member.
“If somebody is interested and they do a meet and greet we can do a Dog Day Out and try it,” Hutcherson said. “Sometimes we encourage it more when we think there might be some issues like if the dog doesn’t like cats or whatever, but it’s a good way to try it out.”
Because of this, Hutcherson said that the humane society has recently been experimenting with expanding the program to include a “Dog Night Out” for those who are more serious about giving a dog a forever home.
“We’ve recently expanded it [where someone] can call us and do a dog night out and then bring it back the next day,” Hutcherson said. “It’s huge for them, and it’s a good way to bridge the gap from the unknown to the known.”
Signing up for Dog Day Out is easy, and anyone is welcome to volunteer to take a dog for a day, Hutcherson said.
“Just call or come in anytime we’re open; it’s just a simple one-page form to fill out,” Hutherson said. “We do get a credit card number in case they don’t bring the dog back but other than that it’s pretty simple; we don’t wanna make it too complicated because we want people to come and have a good time.”
Hutcherson said that sometimes, those signing up to take a dog out will have a specific dog in mind that they’ve met at adoption events or other ways, but other times he and the humane society staff will work to find the perfect match between dog and volunteer.
“Sometimes people will see them at adoption events and have a specific one they want to take out so they’ll come in asking for it by name,” Hutcherson said, “and then sometimes they’ll come in and we’ll play matchmaker. ...”
In addition to Dog Day Out, those wanting to volunteer with the Dawson County Humane Society can sign up for a variety of other tasks, from helping at the shelter to playing with kittens.
“Cat cuddlers can come sit and love on the kitties, dog walkers can come walk dogs, there’s a lot of ways to volunteer,” Hutcherson said. “We try to keep the grunt work to the staff, so the volunteers can do the fun stuff.”
The humane society is also always in need of tangible donations, which can be made through https://www.chewy.com/ or by calling the shelter. The shelter is also in the midst of a grant application through Petco Love Stories, so those who have adopted pets from the humane society before are encouraged to go online at https://petcolove.org/lovestories/ to tell their story, help the humane society get the grant and be entered to win a prize from Petco.
For more information on Dog Day Out or volunteering at the Dawson County Humane Society, go to https://dawsoncountyhumanesociety.org/ or call (706)-265-9160.