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Winnipeg’s ‘Doggie Dates’: Where shelter pups get a chance for paws-on adventure

The “Doggie Dates” initiative at Winnipeg’s Animal Services is bringing joy to both canines and humans, and its organizers are eager to see this heartwarming idea spread.

The program allows people to come and take the shelter dogs on a date when they can spend time with the dog however they see fit.

“What people do is they come on down to animal services. Our team of staff and volunteers will match the person with a particular dog and then the person can take the dog home, to their workplace, to parks, they can take the dog to three malls,” said the shelters General Manager, Leland Gordon.

The program started about four years ago as an easy way to help dogs living in the kennel get out and have some fun.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba dog shelters overflowing, says Animal Services manager'

Manitoba dog shelters overflowing, says Animal Services manager

Anyone who wants to participate has to sign some paperwork and put down a deposit before their first outing.

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“It’s fun for the dogs because they get out of the facility, they get a break, they get exercise, they get socialization, but it’s also great for the residents because it improves their health and wellness,” said Gordon.

The dates can last anywhere from an afternoon to overnight to a whole week and during a time when animal shelters are full and under stress, Jackie Hanna with K9 Advocates applauds the program.

“I think they are a necessity for dogs who are in kennels. They need to be stimulated, they need to interact with people. Being in a kennel is tough for long periods of time,” Hanna said.

Gordon said the program is great for people looking to adopt or for those who want to help a pup get adopted as the doggies all don a little orange vest that says “adopt me” on it so people know the dog is looking for a forever home.

Photo of German Shepard mix Jonathan on his doggie date. Teagan Rasche / Global News

He said he hopes the concept will spread to other cities.

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— With files from Global’s Teagan Rasche

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