Doggy Day Out

Check out Mutual Rescue’s state-by-state directory of participating shelters to find a dog near you for a day out that’s guaranteed to lift both your spirits


What is Doggy Day Out?

Mutual Rescue’s Doggy Day Out is a short-term foster program where the public can take dogs from local shelters on day outings. A Doggy Day Out can include a hike, a trip to a beach or lake, or even a sleepover. These field trips help shelter dogs manage kennel stress, burn off energy and get more exposure to potential adopters.

Doggy Day Out requires minimal training commitments for participants. This encourages members of the public to engage with their local shelter and advocate for the animals. It’s a great excuse to get out and have fun with a canine sidekick.

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Why should animal shelters participate in Doggy Day Out programs?

Doggy Day Out helps you reach new segments of your community. Most people only interact with an animal shelter to surrender or adopt a pet or if they have time to commit to an extended volunteer program. Doggy Day Out invites the community to engage with your organization and become advocates, adopters, and donors.

Doggy Day Out Toolkit for Shelters

 2021/08/Doggy-Day-Out@3x.jpg Photo by Kurt Krukenberg
Photo by Kurt Krukenberg

How did Doggy Day Out start?

Maddie’s American Pets Alive! Director Kristen Auerbach was working at Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Virginia a few years ago when she read an article about short-term and day fostering. In 2014, she implemented a larger version of the program at that shelter. It was a massive success and Auerbach began presenting it at conferences.

Other programs sprouted up, including wildly popular ones at Fredericksburg SPCA and Louisville Metro Animal Services. Mutual Rescue consulted with a diverse group of shelters with robust programs to create resources and support that would allow any shelter, regardless of size or area, to implement this program. Our toolkit contains all the manuals and forms a shelter needs to start its own program.

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 2021/08/8P6A2511@3x.jpg Photo by Kurt Krukenberg
Photo by Kurt Krukenberg


Want to take a dog out for the day?

View Participating Shelters

  • We have been specifically tracking program participants and can draw direct correlation between less stress, less destructive behaviors, and decreased length of stay among those who go out the most often.”
    Caitlin Daly, former executive director, Fredericksburg SPCA
  • Mutual Rescue’s Doggy Day Out has provided our shelter guests with the joy of anticipating an adventure, the freedom to exhibit normal behavior away from the shelter environment, the contentment that only a day on the trails bring and the most important benefit of all; reduced time to adoption and a new beginning. Who doesn’t want a hiking buddy?”
    Jodi Waters, Director of Development, Teller County (CO) Regional Animal Shelter