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Running Exercise for Shelter Dogs

Photo courtesy of Monster Milers (
Photo courtesy of Monster Milers (

Fill up water bottle. Lace up running shoes. Fix the leash and martingale on their running buddy. . .

This is the pre-running routine for Monster Milers volunteers, whose primary mission is to connect Philadelphia runners with homeless dogs as running companions. Over 330 volunteers take out pre-screened dogs from PAWS Wellness Clinic on runs throughout the city and nearby parks.

Dogs who end up in shelters often grow anxious, bored, depressed and stressed after spending the majority of their days in small, confined spaces. When they receive a visit from a potential adopter, they either give off the impression of being depressed and aloof or wild with excitement. To take the edge off, “Milers” take dogs on daily runs, anywhere from a half mile to eight miles depending on the dog.

In addition to giving the dogs much needed exercise, they gain basic training, social skills and exposure to thousands of potential adopters. Calmer shelter dogs result in quicker adoptions and more room for the 30,000 animals that flood Philadelphia’s shelters each year.

To further support Philadelphia’s shelter dogs the Monster Milers will hosta 5k, The Rescue Run, to promote adoption and rescue on Sunday, September 29, 2013. During the post-race Rescue Rally, hundreds of runners and spectators will greet adoptable dogs from rescue organizations, enjoy favorite foods from area food trucks, and meet local vendors. For more information, check out The Rescue Run ( now!