BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — If you have ever missed a day of school, or called in sick to work, to go do something fun, you know what playing hooky feels like.
A new program at the Bakersfield Animal Care Center is giving shelter dogs the opportunity to see what that's like, through Doggy Ditch Day.
Christine McAfee and her daughter, Brooklynn, volunteer to take part in Doggy Ditch Day about once a month.
On their most recent trip, shelter employees paired them with Pippin, a 3-year-old Labrador retriever mix, who has been at the shelter since June.
They took the dog to Hart Park to let him run around and stretch his legs outside of the shelter.
Volunteers have a couple of rules that they must follow, including keeping the dog leashed at all times, always have water, and avoid other dogs and people as much as possible. A list of the other rules can be found here.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year, and staff says the dogs that take part in the program, get adopted much faster!
“If a prospective adopter comes in we can say, ‘here’s how they are out of the shelter,’” Julie Johnson, the executive director of the Bakersfield Animal Care Center, said. “They’re getting that social interaction they’re so desperately craving.”
After the outing, the dogs return to the shelter with a report card. The volunteers are asked to write down what the dogs are good at and what they might need to work on.
“Pretty good on a leash too. Not too tuggy. These are the things we try to note," Christine said during their most recent excursion.
“He’s good in the car, he’s good on the leash, he actually is very good…kinda good at listening. He’s a very nice dog and he’s really fun to play with,” her daughter Brooklynn added.
If you're interested in signing up for Doggy Ditch Day, you can visit their sign-up sheet here.