A Ruff Job to Take On

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Provided by Prince William County

It’s a ruff job, and someone has to do it. The Prince William County Animal Shelter is looking for volunteers to help walk the shelter dogs through its new dog walking program.

A Win-Win

Everyone benefits from the deal, said Beate Begley, administrative support assistant for the county’s Animal Control Bureau. Humans get some dog time and the dogs get to get out of the shelter for a bit, and everyone gets some exercise. “It’s a win-win situation. We give the dogs enrichment, which means that they’re going out there walking. Maybe they come back and chase a ball for a while. That’s mental stimulation. Physical and mental exercise go together. It makes the dogs so much more workable and more adoptable.”

According to Begley, walking dogs improves their social skills, teaches leash manners, and relieves the dogs of pent up energy, which makes them more appealing to potential adopters.

Training

Begley said that volunteers will get 15 to 30 minutes of informational training and another 30 to 45 minutes of hands-on training with the dogs. “We’re definitely going to give them the training they need. We’ll make sure that they’re not going to take on too much.”

The training teaches people about basic dog behavior and how to give dogs simple obedience training, Begley said.

How to Volunteer

To be a volunteer, you must be 18 years or older, be physically able to walk a dog, be able to commit one to two hours a week, fill out the application and get fingerprinted. “They can come in and get an application here at the shelter, or they can go online at our animal shelter website and download the application. Once they bring it to us, we’ll go ahead and give them hands-on training.”

For more information about the dog walking program, contact Begley at [email protected] or call 703-792-5168. The Animal Shelter is located at 14807 Bristow Road.

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