*CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: We are temporarily suspending our Mutt's Morning Out program so that our staff & volunteers (many of whom are older, and are staying at home) can focus on our shelter's immediate needs in this time of crisis. We will update this page when we reinstate the program.*
Mutt’s Morning Out allows members of the general public to take a VHS shelter dog “ out on the town” for a couple of hours. Life in a kennel 23 hours a day can be very stressful on a dog’s psyche. It is emotionally upsetting for them, particularly when they have always been used to family life and then suddenly find themselves homeless. Mutt’s Morning Out will give the dogs a break from kennel life where they can decompress and receive extra exercise & enrichment. The experience of car rides, walks, new people & places is beneficial not only for the dogs, but for our Adoptions team who can learn even more about each dog while trying to match them with a family.
Mutt’s Morning Out will be offered on Tuesday-Friday mornings from 10 am – 12 pm in the VHS’ front entrance. Dogs may leave the premises anytime during that time but must be back at the shelter by 12:00 when Adoption hours begin. We highly recommend that 2 people participate per dog -- that way one person is available to take pictures, handle the dog if the other person needs to use the bathroom, and so on! Many VHS dogs get adopted simply from walk-in foot traffic at the shelter, so it’s important that they be in their kennels ready for visitors at 12:00. (Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis for extremely stressed dogs or long-term resident dogs.) This means dogs can go on a full 2-hour adventure, or just down the street for a few minutes. Timing is flexible within the 10:00-12:00 range.
This program is designed specifically for medium & large high-energy dogs. Occasionally small dogs may be available for outings, but the vast majority of participants will be strong and exuberant weighing approximately 40-80 lbs. All breeds will be eligible for Mutt’s Morning Out (although, as stated above, the vast majority will be medium to large breeds.) All dogs will receive temperament evaluations prior to participating for increased safety.
VHS will provide a list of suggestions on where to take dogs on outings, such as local parks, restaurants, and trails!
All dogs will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, temperament-evaluated, and fitted with a collar & harness before leaving the premises. They will also wear an “Adopt Me” vest.
Human buddies will be given postcards containing basic information about the dog to pass out to anyone who may be interested in visiting the shelter to adopt it. They can also post as many photos & videos as they want, and tag us on social media! All participating dogs are available for adoption.
Mutt’s Morning Out is very similar in nature to the VHS’ Cardio for Canines program, where the public can take a shelter dog to Garvin Park every Saturday morning. Mutt’s Morning Out is meant to supplement Cardio for Canines by providing dogs with enrichment opportunities throughout the week and not just on Saturdays. Many other shelters across the country have implemented similar programs with wild success.
First-time participants will fill out an initial registration form and provide a photo ID. After their first time, anyone can come pick up a dog for a Mutt’s Morning Out without having to re-register. VHS team will provide you with a dog based on the energy level you’re comfortable with. Participants can request dogs by name whom they have previously taken Out, but availability is not guaranteed. Dogs can be taken out by one person or multiple people (and in fact, two people often works better -- one handler and one photographer!)
Mutt’s Morning Out is the VHS’ latest investment in improving the overall standard of care of our canines. The ultimate goal is to improve the dogs’ mental and emotional health and also reduce their total length of stay in the shelter. The VHS team is confident that not only will the dogs benefit dramatically from this program, but the humans will enjoy it just as much!
Download information about Mutt's Morning Out here:
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