Do you like the outdoors? Are you athletic? Are you a dog lover? Are you willing to give a few hours a month to help a dog? If so, you are a good candidate for the new "Jog For A Dog" program being launched at the Central New York SPCA. The program is designed to pair runners with dogs, giving dogs an opportunity to burn off excess energy and improve their chances for adoption.
Every week several dogs are considered for adoption at the CNY SPCA, but their pent-up energy shows itself in negative ways, like jumping and barking for attention. This deters potential families from welcoming them into their homes. The "Jog For A Dog" program is designed for dogs to burn off excess energy, so their true colors can shine to potential owners.
Even after the first steps of a run, changes can be seen in a dog's demeanor and energy level. Running for 30 minutes expends the approximately the amount of energy as a 2 1/2 hour walk, so even a short run can be a positive experience for a dog.
Kevin Newman of Baldwinsville, an avid runner and CNY SPCA volunteer who has run with shelter dogs, said, "The dogs are typically overactive when initially let out. . . [but] after a hundred yards or less they have gotten used to the pace and are happily running with me." In addition to exponentially increasing the dogs' chances for adoption, regular exercise improves a pup's overall health, stabilizes mood, enhances mental alertness, relieves boredom, curbs behavior issues, and relieves stress and anxiety. It also is an opportunity for dogs to become more socialized.
The CNYSPCA's Director of Education, Kim Smith, agrees. "Dogs are not meant to live in cages. This program will give the dogs proper exercise that they need. It also allows them to form a bond with the runner, and gives them the socialization that they need on a daily basis."