I am SO excited for this new program at the Denver Animal Shelter, particularly because of how welcoming and beginner-friendly it is. As you may have guessed from the name, the premise is to take a shelter dog for a jog. The shelter is conveniently located adjacent to the South Platte River trail, which is nice and wide, paved, and generally quite lovely to stroll along.
Unlike the name indicates, you don’t have to jog, or even run, if you don’t want to. We take all sizes of dogs out, and while there is a marathon runner in our midst, there is also me. I am currently walk-running in intervals while I recover from an injury, and the midsize and small dogs I took out were perfectly happy with that. The really little guys were just happy to walk around.
The group is small, so we are hoping to grow. Right now it’s just five of us gals, so fellas if you’re into dogs and attractive women, come on down. Just kidding. Sort of. In all seriousness, it’s a small but awesome group of super friendly women of varying ages (I’m probably the youngest at 25) and abilities. No one is judgey and everyone goes at their own pace and distance.
You get yourself off the couch, you give a shelter dog the best afternoon of their lives (seriously, I have never seen a group of dogs that are so appreciative and happy), and our fearless leader, Melissa even brought us donuts to celebrate the end of a good day (because we totally earned it…right?). If you’re really lucky, you will also get some love from the pups you take out.
You do have to be a Denver Animal Shelter volunteer to participate, which requires you going through a background check. This process takes a couple weeks, and yes, it’s annoying.
**EDITED July 2017**
Getting involved in Jog A Dog used to be super easy. Unfortunately, that has changed since the shelter got a new volunteer coordinator (who is doing a lot of amazing things). You can no longer just be a volunteer for Jog A Dog, you have to commit to a weekly, year-round volunteer shift and at least one full day of training.
This sucks because it’s a huge barrier for people that just want to volunteer for Jog A Dog for an hour once a week in the summer. We (the current Jog A Dog) volunteers are hoping that once we get through a summer of the program, we can get that reconsidered for 2018. I know this is kind of a crappy update, but I noticed this blog post is getting a lot more traffic lately and I wanted to update it with accurate information.