RunningDog is important for many reasons, but the biggest reason is that dogs are languishing in kennels all over the country. Due to the nature of animal control and rescue, most adoptable dogs spend the bulk of their day in a noisy chaotic kennel. So not only are they unable to expend their pent up energy, they are stressed by the sights, sounds and smells of their surroundings.
Our program allows these dogs to run off that stressed energy and explore more of the world around them. Dog walking programs are doing wonderful things in facilities and they are a necessity at any shelter. But if you put a leash in the hand of a runner, that dog is seeing sights that they may have never seen before simply due to a runner’s ability to go further.
The goal of adoptable canine advocacy should be to have dogs leave a facility better than when they came in. Unfortunately this isn’t the case most of the time. A dog that spends an extended amount of time in a facility is traumatized. Our wish is that dogs enter a facility and are better dogs for having been there.
What we didn’t expect was for this to become such a meaningful part of our runners lives. We knew it would be a cool fun thing to do, but we never would have guessed that this could impact our runners the way that it has.
Running is basically a solo sport. And if you ask some people, it’s basically a useless skill.
BUT…as runners we are giving these dogs something that no one else can. There is an amazing sense of “purpose fulfilled’ for our runners.
And as runners, we will register for races that give back to our favorite charities; Race for a Cure to support breast cancer awareness, the Tough Mudder gives back to Wounded Warriors, etc…
But the beauty in RDog is that we aren’t giving money to a cause so that someone else can “do the thing”. We are engaged in our cause in that moment. We ARE doing the “thing”. And it rocks.
The facilities that house our programs benefit in a variety of ways. The most obvious is that we are recruiting runners and training those runners and sending those trained volunteers to your local facility. The running community is a dedicated group of hard working athletes and has been an untapped resource in the rescue community.
The RunningDog friendly facilities in our area enjoy the ripple effect of having our runners in house. They bring their family and they bring their friends. They bring community attention to the adoptable dogs and even media attention.
And most importantly, our runner’s efforts are helping to make these dogs more adoptable. A dog that has been able to expend their pent up stress is more easily housed, handled and trained.