The dogs are just begging to be taken out for a "Happy Hour" to get some relief from the madhouse! 

Local shelters all around the DMV have been creating "Happy Hours" or small volunteer-based foster programs which get shelter dogs out of the animal shelters for a few hours at a time. The Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C., and Chesapeake Animal Services each took on their version of the program which has proven to be a success increasing their adoption rates and the overall health of the pups. 

When we first heard the news, we all jumped for joy because we got the chance to hang out with a shelter pup, for free, without having to warrant all of the permanent owner responsibilities.

Arizona State University took notice of the success of the program and have chosen to conduct a "Happy Hour" study to examine the overall behavior of the pets and hopefully influence the local shelter to create permanent "Happy Hour" foster programs. Arizona State University has roped in shelters across the United States to participate in the study, and Humane Rescue Alliance is one of them. 

The "Happy Hour" program is currently up and running, so all you need to do is sign up!

Keep your fingers crossed that more permanent "Happy Hour" programs are created. 

Courtesy of Giphy

The overall hope of the program is to create happy outcomes for the other participants in the study—the dogs—and to see how the break from the shelter influences their behavior and adoption rates. When a dog is given a break from the loud and crowded environment, they are more willing to open up to people, show other sides of their personalities, and be more likely to match to their future home.

Scared, confused, and alone when first surrendered, shelter dogs often act out when people come to visit them and are then less likely to become adopted. 

“When dogs appear less stressed to a potential adopter, that makes adopters want to meet them because they're calm and they're lying in their den, rather than jumping around and barking and acting all stressed out,” says Jennah Billeter, who works at the shelter.

How to Participate

Go to your local shelter and let them know that you would like to be a volunteer for the "Happy Hour" program, fill out a release waiver (or whatever form or agreement they have), pick a pet (from a list or just from the cages), and take them out and around the town—that’s it! Super easy, huh? 

The process will vary from shelter to shelter so be sure to check with your local SPCA or Humane Society to see how to become a volunteer! 

All of the dogs right now: 

Courtesy of Giphy

If you choose to become a volunteer with this program, there will be plenty of benefits for you and the shelter dog. You get some personal time with a dog (enough said) ,and the dog learns to love and trust humans again.

Hey, who knows? You may find your fur-ever buddy, too. All in all, it’s a win-win situation. 

Just think about it, you will be creating plenty of these: 

Courtesy of Giphy

Will you be participating in the "Happy Hour" program? Tell us in the comments!