It's a Match! Winnipeg Rescue Intro's Doggie Dates

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson

Prospective owners can sweep their prospective partner away for the night, a weekend, or a week, before deciding to commit.

Photo Credit: natasaelena /

It’s February, love is in the air and if you’re like the many who are seeking out that special someone, we may have the answer. I mean, who isn’t after a companion who’s not only attentive but good-natured and ready to listen for hours on end?

Nope, it’s not the Love Guru (google it, Generation Z), it’s an animal rescue in Winnipeg, Manitoba who are determined to find a way to re-home the dozens of post-pandemic pooches now occupying their kennels. What to do? They cleverly picked up on today’s match-making trend of “swiping right” and have introduced a Doggie Date program.

Similar to how the various dating apps work, the shelter profiles a number of the “eligible” dogs via their website and social media accounts. Prospective “dates” can peruse the pooch pix at their leisure and read up on what their prospective companion enjoys (we’re sensing a big yes to long walks on a beach or snuggling on the sofa but a resounding no to wine tastings or bowling).

Once the all-important emotional connection has been made, the human must make the first move by contacting the shelter to arrange the date.

According to Leland Gordon, general manager of Winnipeg Animal Services, once screened, a $300 deposit is made (the adoption fee, which is returned if not the right match). "People can take these dogs to their homes. They can take them to green spaces. We've even had people take them camping or to their cottages." And the date can last anywhere from an overnight visit to a few days or even an entire week. However long it takes to make (or not make) that all-important connection.

Adds Gordon, "It's great for the dogs because they get out of the animal shelter and get a break. They get to socialize and meet other animals. It's also great for participants, promoting healthy living by taking the dogs for walks.” So, taking a try-before-you-buy approach seems to be a win-win-win for everyone.

But there’s more because some of the humans visiting the shelter are not necessarily coming to adopt. Many are happy to take the dog out on a “date”, video or photograph the outing and then post to the shelter site. It’s an opportunity for prospective pet parents to see the dog in action and check out how they interact in various settings. And because he/she is always wearing their bright orange “adopt me” vest, the inevitable speed dates are sure to happen along the route, with loads of questions, head pats, friend-making interactions, and even the odd treat being offered.

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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