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Orange County Animal Shelter offers program to foster large dogs for short periods of time

Rayne wearing "Dog Day Out" gear during her field trip with a volunteer.
Best Friends Animal Society
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Rayne wearing "Dog Day Out" gear during her field trip with a volunteer.

The Orange County Animal Shelter is collaborating with a nonprofit to launch a new program offering field trips for large dogs.

The Dog Day Out Program allows volunteers to foster dogs for the day, while doing different activities. The goal is to help dogs engage with the community, reduce kennel stress for dogs who tend to stay long at the shelter, and help them learn social skills.

The Best Friends Animal Society is working with the animal shelter on the program. John Graves, the nonprofit’s East Regional Manager, said dogs can be picked up from the shelter Monday through Saturday.

“You can take them out to Starbucks, you can take them for a hike, you can take them to your house and just have a Netflix date with a dog,” he said. “That's like really one of the number one things they need is just a little bit of human interaction.”

Volunteers have the option to spend 45 minutes to 24 hours with a dog. The shelter is willing to provide items, like crates, bowls, poop bags, and harnesses for the field trip.

“There's actually been studies that have shown the cortisol levels in dogs just drop once they leave the shelter,” Graves said. “So even getting them out for the short stretches has just been hugely beneficial for shelters across the country.”

People interested in volunteering can visit the Orange County Animal Shelter’s website.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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