LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Shelter dogs with behavioral issues can have a difficult time finding permanent homes. The Kentucky Humane Society is trying something new to get those dogs ready for adoption.
It’s called Date with a Dog, a day foster program. Shelter dogs working through issues at the Pet Retreat get a chance to test out what they’ve learned with new people in a new environment.
“That lets us know this dog is ready to go out into the real world and be adopted,” behavior manager Edwin Ramirez said. “And it really kind of opens up that avenue for us to be able to learn a lot more outside of the shelter setting.”
They're sending their findings over to Arizona State and Virginia Tech to help with research on rescues.
“We’re actually seeing how we can mitigate stress while the dogs stay in our shelter, so we are finding that dogs that do go out even for the minimum of a two hour date come back with a completely new demeanor,” Ramirez said. “They’re excited, they’re happy, we can clearly see that their stress levels have been reduced.”
The program started a few months ago and on Friday volunteer Leslie Marlin and Kizzy the German Shepherd became the 40th match to participate.
"My most successful dates have been with dogs… I just keep coming back for more dog dates,” Marlin said.
Kizzy has been working on getting along with other dogs.
“A lot of them are really, really shy and you see them just blossom and come out of their shell and then these that are more reactive you see them calm down,” Marlin said. “It’s just really gratifying to see them work through their issues and get adopted.”
If you’re interested in participating in Date with a Dog, sign up to become a foster or volunteer on the KY Humane Society website. Once you complete the dog handling workshop, e-mail Edwin at ERamirez@kyhumane.org.