No Pooch? No Problem! This Program Sets You Up With A Four-Legged Hiking Companion

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I’ve written extensively here on PetGuide about the challenges of being a puppy parent in the big city. It’s not always easy having a dog when you live in the concrete jungle, and for many city dwellers, a lack of time, space, or a landlord that allows a pooch all play a role in the decision to remain dog-free.

Some people aren’t sure if they can commit to a dog full time, and that’s actually a good thing: it’s better to know that ahead of time than to adopt a dog, only to realize you can’t give them the home they deserve. This is how the endless and sad cycle of our loyal companions ending up at shelters across the country perpetuates itself.

One New York City-based adventure provider is hoping to help city dwellers and adoptable dogs find a happy medium with a new program called Hike with Adoptable Hounds. Discover Outdoor runs two monthly trips to Harriman State Park, an hour outside Manhattan, pairing dogs who need a home with outdoorsy, canine-loving humans for a daylong hike through the wilderness.

The dogs come from Animal Haven Shelter, located in the heart of NYC. The shelter’s kennel manager, Mary Wadlock, says the program is great for the pups. And so far, Hike with Adoptable Hounds seems to be attracting many busy, working millennials, such as marketing manager Patrick Pan, 27.

Pan loves dogs, but doesn’t feel settled enough to adopt one right now — he lives with two roommates in the city’s Financial District, so space is at premium. He heard about the program from a coworker and says he “signed up on the spot. It’s a great chance for these dogs to get out here, plus I love to hike.”

So far, none of the hikers have adopted their walking companions, but engaged couple Trista Watson and Tyler McConnell might just change that statistic: they’ve developed a soft spot for Barker, the Pitbull mix they were set up with for their wilderness hike. “We’re getting married in March, so I’m thinking about the next step, which is adopting a dog,” says McConnell.

A day with the Hike with Adoptable Hounds program costs $110 and includes transportation to and from Harriman State Park, a picturesque 4.5 mile hike and a 30-minute lunch break. And part of the proceeds benefits Animal Haven Shelter.

Interested in hiking with a pooch in need? Visit Discover Outdoor’s website for more information.

[Source: New York Post]


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