In Batesville, AR the Humane Society of Independence County came up with an ingenious way to get volunteers to help exercise their residents.
What is it? They started a walking club, a win-win for dog and human.
The society used to have trouble recruiting volunteers, but since the walking club began in September, “we’ve got a core group of five to eight, depending on the weather and what they have planned,” says Augustus, a board member who takes off work for the walking club.
“It’s been tremendous for the dogs,” she says. “The turnaround [in their mood ] has been amazing. And we get out and get exercise, and it makes us feel good just to be outside with them.”
Many of the dogs start out scared and apprehensive, she says, but quickly take to the adventure.
What a great idea, wouldn’t it be wonderful if it spread to shelters across the country. I’m sure it would also help increase the adoption rate, how could you not fall in love with a dog you walk every week?
It’s free exercise for dogs and people. And the dogs come to meet the people in a central location.
“You go at your own pace, with a dog you feel comfortable with,” says volunteer Sue Augustus. “We generally have between seven and 13 walkers.”
Any and all dog lovers can join the society’s volunteers in walking shelter dogs at 8: 30 a. m. Wednesdays in Batesville. The club meets at the city’s North Complex recreation center at 3451 E. Main St.
Anyone who wants to walk with a (very grateful ) dog is welcome. Volunteers merely ask that you call ahead to (870 ) 251-4145 or (870 ) 307-5305 so they bring enough dogs for everyone.