This month, Nathan and I decided to take on a little something extra to go with our usual 12athon insanity. We started talking about the idea right after we finished our Tour de Slacker on May 12th. Actually, on 2nd thought, we may have actually discussed it that day, but being in the slacker delirium, I can’t remember for certain when the seed of the idea was planted.
We decided it was time to give something back. So, we thought the Hoofin’ and Woofin’ challenge was the perfect opportunity to do something good (and to score mucho points). We immediately began our research and found out about a relatively new program at the Guilford County Animal Shelter. The Running Start Pawgram allows runners and other folks who are up for it an opportunity each morning to walk some of the more active dogs from the shelter. You have to call the shelter to arrange it in advance, but the experience is well worth it!
All they ask is that you pick up the dogs before 10:30 and have them back at least 15 minutes before the shelter opens. Nathan and I also suggest that you pick up your own collar (medium or large) and a leash. We didn’t and ended up with sore hands from the short, braided leads the shelter puts on the dogs. We also recommend taking the dogs down to Gibson Park on Wendover. If you drive all the way to the end of the street that runs into Gibson Park, you can get right on the Bicentennial Greenway. From there, you can go north-ish until it hits Gallimore Dairy Road (about 3 miles out) or south-ish which will take you further into Jamestown and eventually lands you at the Piedmont Environmental Center. My guess is that it is about 3.5 miles to that point, but we didn’t go that far on our adventure with the dogs. The coolest part about the trip from Gibson Park to Gallimore Dairy is that there is a little creek that runs along a good part of the path and you can take the dogs down to the rocks at several points (just make sure to bring towels!).
This program is awesome! It gives some of the more active dogs in the shelter a chance to get out their ya-yas before the shelter opens to the general public. That way, the prospective adopters have the opportunity to see what the dogs would really be like if they lived in a setting that allowed a more active lifestyle, and the dogs have more of a chance to be taken home to a loving family.
While we will be the first to admit that we did this for some major 12athon points, we have decided we will continue to volunteer to take dogs out. On top of that, it gives you such a great feeling when you go in to pick up the dogs and you find out that one of them has been adopted (which happened to us on our second visit).
Our first trip out, we took Shasa and Roxy. They were in the same kennel, and the shelter thought it would be a good idea for us to take two dogs that knew each other. They were immediately comfortable with each other and were both well-behaved on their leashes. We weren’t sure on Shasa’s breed (maybe a lab mix), but Roxy seems to have perhaps some Border Collie and some other type of unidentifiable breed that makes her snout flatten out a bit. She is gorgeous and so sweet!
On our second trip, we took out Roxy again. We also found out that Shasa had been adopted!!! We were told that the folks that adopted her really considered both dogs, but in the end settled on just one. We really hope that Roxy gets her forever home soon as well. The other dog we took out is named Caleb, who I immediately pegged as a puppy (confirmed to be 8-10 months). Caleb was pretty amazing. We was full of energy and came out of the shelter ready for serious play time! We have no doubt that Caleb is going to be a big boy; he appears to have some mastiff or rottweiler in him. But what a handsome and spunky dog! On this trip, we took the dogs down to the water and they had a blast splashing around on the rocks and in the shallows. They took a little time to warm up to each other–well, Caleb warmed right up, but Roxy (out of her puppy phase) seemed a little annoyed with him at first. But, by the time we got back to the car, they were side by side in front of us and playing well together.
We loved doing this with all of these dogs (though we did feel a little like we were cheating on our Gertrude)! Please, consider taking a morning to volunteer with the Running Start Pawgram yourself. These dogs need it and it can really make a difference in their lives!
(And if you want to see more shots of the dogs, you can visit our public Facebook album featuring them.)