23ABC Community Connection


Cruisin' Canines program helps dogs spend the afternoon outside of shelter

Posted at 12:01 AM, Nov 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-21 03:01:24-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif — The Bakersfield Animal Care Center says it's seeing an increase in stray animals brought to the shelter. Many of them not micro chipped and with no owners who come to claim them causing the shelter to become full, which is an unusual problem for them this time of the year.

The shelter says they need the community to step in. The Cruisin' Canines Program allows you to take a shelter dog out for the day and helps pups like Tyson get exposure outside of their kennel.

“Tyson is about 3 years old and he is a pitbull and he is an absolute goofball, but full of love," Nicole Gitzke said.

Volunteer Megan Jones has a soft spot in her heart for animals.

“It's such a good feeling and usually when you first take them out of the shelter they are so excited,” Jones said.

She volunteered to spend the afternoon with Tyson, but much is not known about his past.

“It definitely seems like he had an owner at some point. He’s very calm, he understand commands and everything,” Gitzke said.

But the center says he was brought in as a stray, like many of the other dogs in their kennel. The Bakersfield Animal Care Center says the shelter is over capacity and needs the communities help.

“We aren’t taking any owner surrenders, right now all of our animals coming in are strays, sick, or injured and we just don’t have space, we’re running out of space, we have so many amazing animals right now and we're just not having don’t a lot of people turn out to adopt," Gitzke said.

That's where the Cruisin' Canines program comes in to help the dogs find families. Nicole Gitzke with the Bakersfield Animal Care Center says its a great way for dogs like Tyson to get out and engage with the community.

"We have some amazing volunteers that come out and they take a dog out for the day, whether it's to get a bath or go on a hike, or just to enjoy a puppuccino its a great way for them to get out, they take pictures and then we post it everywhere and we really just want to show people that these dogs are more than just what they are in their kennel, they have a personality they have a life and we really just want people to see those key characteristics so they can come out and find the right one for them," Gitzke said.

Jones says whether you just want to take a dog for the day or are ready to adopt, you can help clear the the shelter.

“Anyone wanting a dog or that has room for a dog, the shelters are really full so it's really important that as many people as they can go get a dog from there," Jones said.

The center says it wants each of their dogs to have loving homes for the holidays so if you're interested in becoming a Cruisin' Canines volunteer, you can find the sign up on Bakersfield Animal Care Center's facebook page, along with many other volunteer opportunities.