Would You Rent A Shelter Dog For The Day? The Growing Trend of On-Demand Dog Programs

In recent years, animal shelters and rescue organizations have been implementing innovative programs that are revolutionizing the way we interact with shelter dogs.

Enter the world of on-demand dog programs, where the concept of “borrowing” or “fostering” a shelter dog for a day has taken the canine-loving community by storm. These programs offer an invaluable escape for shelter dogs from the confines of their kennels, granting them a taste of freedom, adventure, and human companionship. But the benefits extend far beyond wagging tails and heartwarming moments. As dogs revel in newfound experiences, participants reap the rewards of joy and fulfillment, fostering a deeper connection between humans and our four-legged friends.

On-Demand Dog Programs

Next time you’re on vacation in Maui why not take a shelter dog to the beach with you? And it’s not just limited to vacation locations! Shelters in your area may offer these types of “On Demand” programs. Have a friend who wants a dog but can’t have one due to rental restrictions for family members with allergies? This type of program may just scratch that itch!

1. Maui Humane Society

On-Demand Dog Programs
Source: Maui Humane Society

The Beach Buddies & Dog on Demand programs allow visitors (and kama’āina) to take a shelter dog out for a day of fun every day from 11am – 4pm!


2. Humane Society of Silicon Valley (HSSV)‘Shelter Dog Field Trip’

HSSV‘s program allowed volunteers and potential adopters to take dogs out for day trips to parks, hiking trails, and other pet-friendly locations. Participants could choose a dog from the shelter and spend quality time with them to provide much-needed mental and physical stimulation.


3. Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) ‘BoroughBreaks’

ACC offered a similar program where individuals could sign up to take a dog on a day trip within the city. This initiative not only helped the dogs but also gave participants a chance to experience the joys of pet companionship without a long-term commitment.


4. Wayside WaifsFoster Field Trips

On-Demand Dog Programs
Source: Facebook

Wayside Waifs, a shelter in Kansas City, had a program that allowed people to take adoptable dogs on field trips or sleepovers for a night or a weekend. This gave the dogs a chance to decompress, socialize, and potentially meet potential adopters in a less stressful environment.

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5. Pima Animal Care Center‘Shelter Slumber Party’

The Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson, Arizona, offered a sleepover program where people could bring a dog home for one or two nights. Participants were provided with supplies and information to ensure the safety and comfort of the dog during their stay.


6. The Anti-Cruelty Society‘Doggy Day Out’

This program in Chicago allowed participants to take an adult shelter dog on a day trip or a weekend outing. The shelter provided all the necessary supplies, and participants were encouraged to share their experiences on social media to promote the dogs available for adoption.


7. Best Friends Animal Society‘Puppy Slumber Party’

On-Demand Dog Programs
Source: Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends in Los Angeles offered a puppy-specific program where people could take home a puppy overnight. This initiative aimed to socialize the puppies and give them a break from the shelter environment.


8. Mutual RescueDoggy Day Out

Doggy Day Out is a short-term foster program where the public can take dogs from local shelters on day outings. A Doggy Day Out can include a hike, a trip to a beach or lake, or even a sleepover. These field trips help shelter dogs manage kennel stress, burn off energy and get more exposure to potential adopters. Check out Mutual Rescue’s state-by-state directory of participating shelters to find a dog near you for a play date.


9. Humane Rescue AllianceHappy Hour foster program

This program allows volunteers to take dogs out of the group’s two shelters for a couple of hours at a time instead of requiring fosters to welcome animals into their homes for days, weeks, or months. The Humane Rescue Alliance is located in Washington D.C.


10. Paws ChicagoBeach Buddies

On-Demand Dog Programs

This program allows volunteers to take dogs out for an afternoon at Montrose Beach in Chicago. Paws Chicago is located in Chicago.


11. Lollypop Farm – Day Trips

This program allows volunteers to take dogs out for day trips. Lollypop Farm is located in Fairport, New York.


12. Humane Society of UtahSleepover Program

This program allows volunteers to take dogs home for sleepovers. The Humane Society of Utah is located in Murray, Utah.


13. Humane Society of Missouri – Shelter Buddies Reading Program

On-Demand Dog Programs: Shelter Buddies Reading Program
Source: Humane Society of Missouri

This program allows children aged 6-15 years old to read books to shelter dogs. The Humane Society of Missouri is located in St Louis, Missouri.

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14. Animal Rescue League of IowaBook Buddies Reading Program

This program allows children aged 6-11 years old to read books to shelter cats. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa is located in Des Moines, Iowa.


15. Animal Friends Humane Society –Adventure Tails Program

This program allows volunteers to take dogs out for day trips.


16. San Francisco SPCACuddle Club Program

Cuddle Club Program allows volunteers to come in and cuddle with cats and kittens.


Reach out to your local animal shelters and rescue organizations to inquire about on-demand dog programs like dog day out, beach buddy, and foster field trips. Whether you’re a seasoned dog lover or someone curious about the joys of pet companionship, these programs offer a golden opportunity to share moments of love, laughter, and adventure with a shelter dog in need.

on-demand dog programs

By participating, you not only enrich the lives of these deserving canines but also amplify their chances of finding their forever homes. Your kindness can be the catalyst that unlocks the door to a brighter future for a shelter dog. Contact your local shelters now, and let the adventure begin!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about On-Demand Dog Programs at Shelters:

What are on-demand dog programs at shelters?

On-demand dog programs at shelters allow individuals to take shelter dogs on short-term outings, day trips, or even overnight stays outside of the shelter environment. Participants can enjoy the company of a shelter dog without committing to adoption.

What is the purpose of these programs?

The primary purpose of on-demand dog programs is to provide shelter dogs with a break from the shelter environment, reduce stress, and give them socialization and enrichment experiences. It also helps promote adoption by increasing the dogs’ visibility and potential for finding forever homes.

Are there any costs associated with participating in these programs?

The cost, if any, can vary depending on the shelter. Some shelters may offer these programs free of charge, while others might require a small donation or cover the expenses of the dog’s care during the outing.

What kind of activities can I do with the shelter dog during the outing?

Participants can engage in various activities such as taking the dog to parks, hiking trails, dog-friendly beaches, or simply spending quality time together at home. The focus is on providing the dog with a positive and enjoyable experience.

How do these programs benefit the dogs?

On-demand dog programs offer mental and physical stimulation, reduce shelter stress, improve socialization skills, and increase a dog’s chances of being adopted by showcasing their personality and behavior in a different environment.

Can I adopt the dog I take on an outing?

Yes, if you feel a strong connection with the dog and wish to adopt, you can inquire with the shelter about the adoption process. Some shelters may have specific policies for adopting a dog you’ve taken on an outing.

Can I participate in these programs if I already have pets at home?

Most shelters will assess your compatibility with a shelter dog based on your current pets’ behavior and the dog’s temperament. Some dogs may be more suitable for households with existing pets than others.

Do I need to have prior experience with dogs to participate?

Prior experience with dogs is helpful, but it’s not always a requirement. Shelters may provide guidelines and support to ensure both the participant and the dog have a positive experience.

How do I find on-demand dog programs near me?

To find on-demand dog programs in your area, contact local animal shelters, humane societies, or rescue organizations. They can provide information about available programs, eligibility requirements, and how you can get involved in making a difference in a shelter dog’s life.


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