So, my local animal shelter where I adopted my “kitten” (Oliver) from is promoting their dog walker/runner program. If I were to sign up for this program, I would take a 2 hour orientation class and then I would be able to go to the shelter during their normal hours of operation and sign out a dog and take him for a run. And I wouldn’t be restricted to running only on their property. I can sign out the dog and go wherever I want to and run with the dog. How cool is that?
I first found out about this program a couple weeks ago when they had an adoption event at the local food trailer park and I posted a comment on their Facebook post that if I already lived in a house I would come find me a running buddy. Well, they responded that I could sign up as a volunteer dog runner/walker and take dogs out for runs basically whenever I want. This peeked my interest but when I said something about it on my Facebook and I got a couple responses from people, one of which said that when they signed up to do basically the same thing at an Austin shelter, they wouldn’t allow you to leave the property with the dog, so I got discouraged. Well, they posted specifically about this program on their Facebook page the other day and now I’m all excited.
If I do this, then I have a few options on how I could structure my with doggie runs. First, I would do one, maybe two with doggie runs a week. The short run option is to park at the shelter, pick up a dog, and then go for about a 3.5 mile run and then call it a day. (In all honesty, though, I would probably head back out and run another 3 miles after I dropped the dog back off at the shelter.) Another option is to run the approximate 2.75 from my apartment to the shelter, run with the dog for 3.5 miles, then run back home, for a total of 9 miles. Another option is to park at a park about ½ mile away from the shelter, run to the shelter, pick up a dog, run the loop, then run back to the car, for about 4.5-5 miles. Or, since they allow you to take the dog wherever you want to run with it, I could pick up the dog, drive to Town Lake (Ladybird Lake) trail and run a 7 or so mile loop around the lake with the dog and then drop the dog back off. Or, I can do that at just about any other running/hike & bike trail in the Austin area.
I’m excited. This is a really good way for me to get experience running with a dog so that when I do get my own dog, I already know what I’m doing and just have to train the dog to run alongside me. And, it’s awesome for the dogs to get out and run around and not be constantly cooped up in the shelter. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, there will be a dog I run with that I just can’t resist and end up adopting. I doubt it, though, seeing as how I live on the 3rd floor of my apartments and have no yard and sometimes spontaneously stay at work for 16 hours at a time. Not a good idea if the dog can’t let itself out through a doggie door to go potty. So, I will have to refrain from falling in love with any of the pooches I take out for runs.