SILVERDALE, Wash. — They get pats, toys and tail wags just like dogs who have homes. But these are shelter dogs.
“They go on a field trip then maybe a few days after that they get adopted. It's like that good luck charm,” said Sarah Moody-Cook, director of Kitsap Humane Society.
'Kickin' it with K9s' is a brand-new program that gives dogs a break from the kennels at the Kitsap Humane Society. Shelter pups go out on two-hour field trips or sleepovers with volunteers like Lorna Griffin, a flight attendant with two dogs at home, who just doesn’t have time to adopt another.
She's taking Colorado on a field trip today, and his excitement is obvious as he bounds into the back of her SUV.
“I love it. It gets the dogs out and they're having so much fun just getting away from the stresses of the shelter,” said Griffin.
On these outings dogs wear a scarf that says 'ADOPT ME!' and volunteers carry an orange knapsack full of treats and necessities like poop bags and a water dish. Plus each bag is packed with a couple of adoption tools:
“We've got cards and a pen where we can write the name of the dog down for anybody that likes the dog and wants to come adopt him,” explained Griffin.
Colorado seems to know this walk along Silverdale’s waterfront might be his big chance to find an owner.
He shows off his skills, like sitting promptly when asked. And he shows off his big brown eyes and wagging tail to anyone who pauses to say hi.
Volunteers post their walks online: #Kickinitwithk9s. Then social media does its magic.
Lorna's record so far? Pretty doggone good. "And I'm so proud to say all the dogs have been adopted that I've walked."
She's confident Colorado will get the home he deserves.
"He is a sweetheart, he’ll get adopted soon."
Adoption aside, these breaks from the shelter have a profound effect on these pooches. Dogs come back with pep in their step and a new lease on life. Once the dogs return, volunteers fill out a report card. This program is part of a Maddie’s Fund study aimed at making shelters less stressful for dogs. Kitsap is among the 100 shelters across the U.S. chosen to participate.
Lorna says it's always a bit sad to check a dog like Colorado back into the shelter after giving it a couple of hours of freedom. But she always feels optimistic about their futures. And she's proud to say her record still stands: Colorado was adopted two days after that walk.