Homeless Dogs Get Out of Shelter and Join Cross-Country Team on Morning Workout

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Shelter life isn’t easy for dogs. The noise, lack of exercise and confinement can make dogs very anxious. Fortunately, for the dogs at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter in California, they were treated with a special day out of exercise and fun, two things that can do wonders for homeless pups.

Last week, cross-country runners from nearby St. Joseph High School visited a local shelter to have adoptable dogs join their workout.

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“As soon as we started harnessing up the dogs they knew something was happening,” Stacy Silva, the community outreach coordinator Santa Barbara County Animal Services, tells This Dog’s Life about their big day. “Tails were wagging, there was some barking, and you could see the excited sparkle in their eyes.”

Once the pups were ready to go, each student was partnered up with a dog to do the mile-long run. Volunteers briefed the kids on the fact some of these shelter dogs may never have been on a leash, so patience was key. “The kids knew going in they would have to adjust to their dog and some may need to walk,” Silva told us.

After a quick warm-up it was off to the races with the pups. While some ran, others walked and one little dog, Fred, needed a bit of help to cross the finish line.


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This was the first time for the “dog run” but Silva tells us they will continue this tradition with the cross-country runners.

“This was a win-win where the dogs got some exercise and a change of scenery and the kids got to enjoy their workout just a little more,” she says.

Hopefully, other schools will catch on to this.

Here they are in action: