When you are hiking outdoors, immersed in nature, there is little room for improvement. But there is room for improvement. Adding a dog, for example, makes everything better. Thanks to the Jacksonville Humane Society and its Dog Day Out program, locals can now take friendly shelter dogs for a day and find adventure along the way, be it a hike, a trip to the beach or a meal at one of Northeast Florida’s dog-friendly diners. You really can’t go wrong. I sat down with JHS education and outreach manager Lindsay Layendecker to learn more about the program.
Davi: What makes Dog Day Out special?
Lindsay: It’s a great way for people who can’t have a dog to get their pet fix, and it gives the dogs a chance to experience life outside the shelter.
How long has Jacksonville Humane Society been doing this program?
We started the program in 2018, so a little over a year.
Have any dogs been adopted because of Dog Day Out?
A few have been adopted by participants and others are adopted after their DDO story is posted on social media.
How does Dog Day Out work?
It’s easy. You can come down to JHS during business hours, pick out your adventure partner for the day, and hit the road! Available dogs will have a “Dog Day Out” tag on their kennel.
Can dogs be taken out any day of the week?
Yes. Dogs can leave during adoption hours and must be back one hour before closing. JHS is open noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends.
Why is the Dog Day Out program so important?
It’s a way for everyone to experience the joy of a canine companion. Most importantly, it gives the dogs a well-deserved break from the shelter and gives us valuable information on their personalities to share with potential adopters. The outings also help shelter dogs manage kennel stress, burn off energy and get more exposure in their communities.
What can people do with a pet on a Dog Day Out?
Outings can be anything from grabbing a puppuccino, taking a leisurely stroll at a park, or even a nap at your home. We provide a list of suggested places to go and things to do.
Can Dog Day Out dogs hang out with other dogs?
No. It’s better for the dogs to be solo on their adventures.
What should people bring when picking up a dog?
Participants are required to show ID and sign a waiver, and we suggest you bring a towel or blanket for your car. We provide a backpack that holds any supplies your dog might need for the outing and “adopt me” gear to get your dog noticed.
How can people volunteer for the program?
Stop by JHS during our adoption hours and sign up. The program is free, but there is a suggested donation to help JHS continue to provide compassionate care to pets in need.
We are lucky enough to live in a city where dogs can live their best lives. The Dog Day Out program gives shelter dogs fresh air, sunshine and a chance to find a home. It’s a low-commitment way to get involved and give a dog a day out of the shelter.