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High School Cross-Country Team Takes Lonely Shelter Dogs On Their Morning Runs

Animal overpopulation is a huge problem, not just in the US but everywhere in the world. Shelters are overflowing with animals, and according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), more than 1.5 million (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats) are euthanized every year in the US. (1)

The numbers are slowly getting better, thanks to folks who adopt and sterilize their animals, but that’s still a huge number. We have a long way to go. It takes a lot of people to properly care for these furry ones, so volunteers are always in high demand in shelters all across the country.

Time With Shelter Dogs Equals Time Well Spent

Caring for shelter dogs, in particular, takes a surprising amount of time. Putting together their meals, cleaning up after them, cleaning their pens, not to mention walking them…which probably is probably the most time-consuming task of all. Many dog owners know: taking them out, even for a quick jaunt, can take a lot of time. Every dog has its own personality and speed at which they like to go, and you want them to enjoy themselves of course! You want to make their time outside count since they spend so much of it cooped up in a cage. It would be wonderful if every dog who needed a home could at least have just one person to walk them and pet them once in a while.

Well, the awesome cross country team at St Joseph High School is certainly doing their part. Joining up with the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, the kids each take a dog with them out on their morning run.  Shelter spokeswoman Stacy Silva saw the high schoolers running by the shelter and thought, ‘Why aren’t they running our dogs?'” (2) This is a great idea, and healthy for everyone involved! Fostering team spirit on both the human and canine side of things, and getting some cardio in at the same time.

Delaware Is For The Dogs

These kiddos aren’t the only ones who are stepping up where the plight of shelter dogs is concerned. Recently, the state of Delaware made headlines when it became the first state in the US to achieve no-kill status for all its animal shelters. (3) This is fantastic news for all our furry friends too! These guys have needed a win for a while now. Thanks, Delaware, for stepping up!

Anyone Can Help

Being able to run around, play, and interact with humans and fellow dogs is very important for a shelter dog’s “high adaptability factor”. They need to be able to hang out with other dogs and be social. Just like humans, the likable ones are the ones who get noticed the fastest. If a dog is isolated all the time, they will either lose that skill or never gain it. This makes them harder to adopt. Though just having someone to hang out with for a while might not seem like much, it really might mean the world to a four-legged friend.

Consider volunteering at your local shelter! You don’t have to be on the cross country team or take them for a run. Most dogs just love to walk, smell stuff, and get a few scratches behind the ear. They really do need interaction just like humans. If you have an extra hour or two per week, these furry ones would love to spend that time with you.

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