Running with Shelter Dogs for Exercise

Unfortunately we have many animals in shelters and temporary homes in the city. Many people do not realize the amount of volunteer efforts needed to help these animals. Oftentimes the shelters are looking for people who will volunteer to walk or run the animals. It usually requires a short training on how to interact with the animals and shelter roles. After that, many organizations offer times to either go in by yourself or meet up with the group to walk the animals.

I find this is a great way to increase my routine and weekly exercise. By making a commitment to the shelter to run with the animals once or twice a week, it makes me get out and run once or twice. These animals are very excited to be outside their kennel and be out in the world again. There are many great animals who are fantastic on a leash. Some are very happy walking and strolling. Others love the wind in their ears and are great runners.

Volunteering to walk or run animals at a shelter is a great way to help the animals in need without having the responsibility at home. Several of our older patients have found this a great way to increase their exercise activity and spend time with animals. Many feel like they can’t have a pet because of their lifestyle and housing situation, but this scenario allows them to do both.

I know many people who have used several weeks of walking or running to find the perfect animal for them. This gives them a chance to spend time with the dogs on a one-on-one situation, without committing. It also allows them a chance to bond with the animal in a less stressful situation. You’d be surprised how many dogs seem excitable at first as you walk through the shelter on your first trip. But after 20 minutes alone on a walk the dog is easy-going and mild-mannered. They’re all a little excited when anybody walks back for the first time, and after several weeks of walks you get a great idea how you and the animal interact.

Even if you don’t want to adopt an animal, walking and running the dogs is a great benefit to you, the animals, and the community. For more information, call your local shelter to find out how you can help.

Local shelters in the Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Scottsdale area include:

Friends for Life Animal Rescue

Lucky Paws Animal Rescue

AZ Rescue

Arizona Humane Society

Carrie on Rescue

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