Mutt's Morning Out

What is it?
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!

How does it help the dogs?
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.

MMO 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!

When can I do this?!
Mutt’s Morning Out is 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.

How does it work?
First-time participants will fill out an initial registration form (download one below if you'd like) 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. A VHS team member 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.

Should I come alone, or with a friend?
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.

What about kids?
Kids are welcome, but a grownup age 18+ has to be the one actually holding the leash. Let our team know that you have kids with you, and they'll be sure to choose an appropriate dog.

What size/energy level of dogs participate in this?
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.

Where should we go?
VHS can provide a list of suggestions on where to take dogs on outings, such as local parks, restaurants, and trails! All we ask is that you do not take the shelter dog to your own home to interact with your own pets, since we don't know whether or not they will get along.

Are the dogs adoptable?
Yes! All dogs will also wear an “Adopt Me” vest. Human buddies will be given basic information about the dog to tell anyone who may be interested in visiting the shelter to adopt it.

Each dog is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, temperament-evaluated, and fitted with a collar & harness before leaving the premises even for MMO.

Can I post pictures?
YES! As many photos & videos as you want! Tag us on social media. We have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Use hashtag #VHSMMO or #muttsmorningout.

What about the weekends? Can I do this on Saturday?
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.

Download information about Mutt's Morning Out here:

MMO/CFC Registration Form  MMO FAQ Sheet