In Williamsburg, Virginia, senior police officer Aundrea Holiday makes twice-monthly visits to the Heritage Humane Society. When she does, she picks up an adoptable dog and then sets off with them for a fun-filled adventure of looking for potential adopters.
Officer Holiday does this through an adoption program known as Dog for a Day. It was started last February, and since its indoctrination, has been pretty successful.
As Jennifer LaFountain, a volunteer and community engagement manager with the Heritage Humane Society explained to WSLS News, “All of the adoptable pets that she [Officer Holiday] has taken out in 2019 have been adopted out.”
The first place that the pair stopped on the dogs’ big adventure, is downtown Williamsburg. This always allowed the Dog For A Day participants to get out and stretch their legs and meet new people.
They get their energy out, they get their zoomies out and just have a great time,” said Holiday.
The walk is then followed by a ride to city hall in order to meet some fellow government dog lovers. The socialization is excellent for the dogs’ behavioral development. Holiday explains that these social visits are not only rewarding for the dogs, but the people that they encounter derive plenty of joy from the experiences as well.
“You should see people’s faces. They get a big smile on their face as soon as you see them so it kind of makes other people’s day too,” she said.
Once their business is concluded at city hall, Holiday and her canine ride-along will get out into the community in order to hopefully catch someone’s eye for adoption.
Holiday also makes a point to stop by the station with the dogs so her fellow officers can indulge in some doggie love and attention.
And before their day is done, Holiday always treats each dog to a cheeseburger.
Her most recent dog was CJ, a nine-year-old Pit Bull mix. Dogs of his breed and age tend to be harder to find homes for – and CJ had already been with the HHS for almost two months. That is two weeks longer than the average shelter dog.
Not only does the Dog For A Day program give dogs like CJ a chance to get out and have an adventure, but it also gives potential adopters a chance to see their true personalities in a relaxed and low-stress environment.
The main goal of the program is to help the local shelter get their dogs adopted, however, Holiday enjoys that it also gives her an opportunity to engage with local residents and visitors.
Officer Holiday is hoping to eventually bring on more officers to the program in order to help even more dogs find their forever homes.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
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