Eight dogs wear yellow bandanas with the words “ADOPT ME” stretched across, waiting for someone to take them out of their cage.
The Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento is implementing a program called “Doggie Day Out” where people can take a dog out of the shelter for a set amount of time ranging from a couple hours to a sleepover.
For two months now, Doggie Day Out has been a huge success. The shelter claims they can’t keep enough dogs to meet demand. Dogs remain in the program until they are adopted which is when new ones will replace them. Older dogs that have been in the shelter the longest are prioritized in the program.
The goal of the program is to relieve stress dogs feel when they’re cooped up all day in a cage. Even if it’s just a walk or a cuddle on the couch at home, the dogs are free to play with.
For families that are hesitant about rescuing a dog permanently, this is an easy way to test if they’re a good fit for your life.
Senior Andrew Espinosa and his family are looking for a new addition to their family after the passing of his dog Lulu almost a year ago. For his family, this program will help them decide whether to adopt or rescue.
“I think the program is great because it allows people to experience what it’s like to rescue a dog without the responsibility of actually owning it,” said Espinosa. “The girls in my family want to adopt, but my dad and I really want a rescue because we know that there are so many dogs out there that get put down everyday, so we don’t want to add to that problem by adopting.”
This program works well for people that live busy lives and can’t care for a pet as well. All someone needs to do is list the qualities they’re looking for or what activities they’ll be participating in and they’ll get matched.
For example, if someone likes to run or hike they’ll get matched with an energetic dog. In return, the person will take a few pictures and list any new qualities they notice.
Front Street provides a “doggy bag” with treats, a bowl, poop bags and a toy. There is no fee.
The point of this program is to acclimate dogs to life outside of a shelter and familiarize them with things that could possibly cause them stress like kids, cars or other dogs.
By reviewing a dog, families will be more inclined to rescue a dog because they already know their behaviors. This program has greatly diminished the fear of shelter dogs and if they’re aggressive or won’t work with the family and has helped create a personal connection with prospective families as soon as they walk in the doors.