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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Rescue Run Fridays show ‘flip side’ of shelter dogs

Rescue Run Fridays show ‘flip side’ of shelter dogs

As she watched volunteers and dogs Friday morning at the Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter, Faye Adams noted lots of smiling faces.

Some people gently coaxed dogs along or jogged to keep up with the canines. Others paused in the shade to hold puppies or rub their bellies.

Since March, the shelter has held Rescue Run Fridays weekly starting at 9 a.m. at 934 LA 3185, Thibodaux. Volunteers walk or run three miles with all adoptable dogs.

“Shelters can be a place people don’t want to enter because they don’t want to see the sadness,” said Adams, a member of the shelter’s Advisory Board. “This gives them the flip side. They see that the dogs are loving ... and just happy to be around people.”

The runs take place on the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office’s property in front of the jail, as the shelter doesn’t have green space.

Shelter Manager Hilary Detillier said the events have been successful, with larger turnouts on sunny days. She said they also generate publicity for the adoptable dogs, as volunteers share photos and videos on social media.

“In an hour’s time, they see one dog and they really bond with them,” she said. “Sometimes they come back three, four weeks in a row asking for the same dog. ... It’s fun. We see some people one time, and then they don’t come back. It’s not for them. But some of these people have come seven, eight, nine weeks in a row. It’s good to see people really get attached.”

The dogs, which are normally kenneled, have also benefited from the exercise and mental stimulation, Detillier said.

Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle showed up for the run this past Friday.

“To get dogs more accustomed to humans and teach them how to walk, I think, is very important,” he said.

The events also promote adoption, Cantrelle said as he walked a small, brown mixed breed named Dori.

“Look how friendly she is,” he said. “She’s so cute, and she’s not going to get any bigger.”

Adams said she hopes high school and college students will participate in Rescue Run Fridays now that school is out for the summer. Anyone who hasn’t already completed a volunteer orientation should show up 20 minutes early for a brief overview.

“Volunteers are key to helping the staff,” Adams said. “They are short-staffed. Summertime’s a horrible time for shelters. They’re overloaded with kittens and dogs, so anything a volunteer can offer is really appreciated.”

-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.