You may have seen one of the many pleas this summer for members of the public to come help walk some pups at Austin Animal Center, our city’s municipal, open-intake shelter.
Though it’s a hope for many of us that things will change, there is currently no staff position at AAC responsible for getting dogs out of their kennels. This means, on average, anywhere from 30-100+ dogs don’t get out of their kennels at all on a daily basis.
But YOU can help! And it’s easy!
Public Dog Walker Guide for Austin Animal Center
- Members of the public who are at least 18 years of age are allowed to walk dogs with green/GO signs on their kennels.
- Just head to the shelter (7201 Levander Loop) between the public hours of 11am-7pm.
- Blue & white nylon leashes are provided at the shelter but they’re difficult to use so bringing your own equipment (higher quality slip lead, martingale collar + leash, harness) is recommended. Important to note that the dogs don’t have collars on.
- If you are not an official volunteer, you can’t leave the shelter grounds but there are large play pens you can take the dogs to.
- An orange tag on a dog’s kennel means it has not been out for 24+ hours and no time tag means the dog hasn’t been out yet that day.
- When you walk a dog, pull the orange tag if it has one and put it in the bin on the shelf above the sink in the interior room of the kennel row. Then, grab one of the time tags from the same place to hang on the kennel. Hang the tag high on the outside kennel entrance to the side of the door so it doesn’t fall.
- There are treats in a white bin under the sink of those same interior kennel row rooms and the row in the 400 kennels has a fridge of kongs you can pass out. You can also bring your own!
- Bringing toys (PETCO sells 2/$5 ones) & chews to pass out helps too! You can often find toys in large bins in the hallway of each interior kennel row.
- Please only give toys/treats/kongs/chews to dogs housed in single kennels. They can cause scuffles in the doubles & group housing kennels.
- As a general rule, keep the dogs about 10 feet apart and don’t let dogs stop in front of other dogs’ kennels or occupied fenced play pens. We don’t always know how dog social a pup is and, even those who typically love dog friends can be stressed by on-leash or through a barrier greetings in the confines of the shelter.
- Wear tennis shoes (or other comfortable, sturdy walking shoes) & comfy clothes & have your camera ready to snap photos of cute adoptables!
- Have a question? Look for the volunteers in the bright yellow shirts & ask!
The dogs of Austin Animal Center thank you very much for improving their quality of life & adoption chances! And if you decide you’re ready to become an official volunteer, we’d love to have you!
Now get out there, Austin!!
PS. Check out these great dog behavior cheat sheets before you go to make your time at the shelter even more successful & awesome!