Kingsport’s animal shelter now has a Doggie Day Out program, where you can go to the shelter (located at 2141 Idle Hour Road) and essentially “check out” a dog for the day or the weekend. Carolyn Kestner, who oversees fundraising and communications for PETWORKS, explains how the program got started and how folks can take a dog out for the day.
HOW DID THE PROGRAM START?
A volunteer actually came up with the idea last year, Kestner said, but now, PETWORKS is trying to push the idea again this year and get the word out to the public that the program is still in effect.
“It really helps the dogs. It does. It’s such a good thing for them,” she said.
HOW CAN SOMEONE PARTICIPATE?
Folks can come up to the shelter and simply say they want to do “Doggie Day Out.”
Kestner said the shelter has a list of dogs that are eligible, everything from a Chihuahua to a pit bull. Just about any kind of dog. The dogs are at least 2 years old, and you have to provide the shelter with a copy of your driver’s license.
“We want to make sure the (dogs) are fully vaccinated for parvo because, quite frankly, in the beginning we did have a couple go out that apparently weren’t vaccinated,” Kestner said.
HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP THE DOG?
You can come up and take a dog home for the day or for the entire weekend. You can take the dog to the drive-thru and get a pup cup or a burger, take it to the Greenbelt or your house and let it play around in your backyard. Whatever you want to do, Kestner said. The goal is to get the dogs some exposure to people and the outdoors.
“It gets them out of the shelter because that’s hard on them. To sit in there day after day. Our longest resident has been here for two years and another one for 18 months,” Kestner said. “It helps the dogs not be depressed, to get out of there and get some exercise.”
And of course if you like the dog and want to make it a part of your family, Kestner said, that’s fine too. The shelter will be happy to help make that a reality.