On the Trail to a New Home

Have you ever heard the saying, “A tired dog is a good dog”? Most people who live with dogs can tell you that adage is true. Here at PAWS, we prove it every day.

“A dog whose exercise needs are met may rest more calmly at home and be less fretful when left alone,” says dog trainer and author, Kathy Diamond Davis. To that end, each dog at PAWS is walked an average of one mile a day. Two shifts of volunteers, strategically timed to arrive after breakfast and dinner, walk all able-bodied dogs on the wooded trail behind the shelter.

“It’s really satisfying to take a dog who’s pacing and whining out of a kennel, walk him around the trail a couple of times, and put him back panting, with a smile on his face,” says long-time volunteer Tammy Ahn.

Staff and volunteers at PAWS joke that the shelter dogs get walked more than their dogs at home. Last year, volunteers and dogs logged enough laps around the nature trail to roughly equal the distance from Lynnwood to Houston, Texas and back.

“That doesn’t even include the time they spent running around in buddy groups in the play yard!” marvels Assistant Shelter Manager Kerri Tenniswood.

Providing dogs with a good level of exercise is also benefi cial in the adoption process.

“When potential adopters go on a visit, it takes less time for our dogs to calm down and show their true colors,” says Adoption Advisor Rachel Bird. “That would not be the case if our volunteers didn’t get them out of their kennels so much.”

Animal Behavior Lead Kristi Binau agrees, “The dogs ‘show’ much better in the kennels when they’re a little tired, too. Instead of being anxious and barking, they’re more likely to be sitting calmly or playing with a work-to-eat toy.”

Though the average stay for a dog at PAWS is only about eight days, the efforts of our more than 120 dog walkers and kennel attendants ensure that time is filled with activity, structure and plenty of fresh air. Thanks to our volunteers, every adoptable dog in PAWS’ care is a “good dog”; they’re simply waiting for the right family to walk through our doors.

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