January 30, 2024
By: Sarah A. Neikam, CAWA
You’ve probably heard that time spent with companion animals is good for both your mental and physical health, but did you know that it’s just as good for the animals? Shelter dogs in particular greatly benefit from human interaction. Positive experiences with people help build their confidence, enhance their wellbeing and prepare them for successful adoption.
A shelter dog enjoying an Albrecht Adventure Day outing.
The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare’s Albrecht Adventure Days program is a heartwarming initiative aimed at facilitating these experiences. The program offers a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively, for shelter dogs. Community members are invited to take these dogs out for a day full of exploration and adventure, providing the dogs with not only essential enrichment and a break from the shelter environment but also greater chances of finding forever homes.
The program hinges on a simple yet profound idea: exposure to real-world experiences allows shelter dogs to showcase their true personalities in a relaxed, natural setting, making them more appealing to potential adopters.
Program participants become spontaneous advocates for shelter dogs by sharing their experiences with friends, family, and on social media. This extended network exponentially increases the reach of the program, drawing more attention to the dogs’ plight and their need for loving homes.
Benefits of Albrecht Adventure Days, and similar shelter dog field trip programs, are backed by a comprehensive study from Arizona State University & Virginia Tech Maddie’s Nationwide Fostering Study team, which analyzed the impact of field trip and sleepover programs at shelters.[i] The findings are remarkable: field trip dogs were five times more likely to be adopted, while sleepover dogs saw a staggering fourteenfold increase in adoption rates.
The study also found that these programs were the most successful when community members were more involved in providing these experiences, instead of just shelter staff and volunteers.
Shelter dog, Cloud enjoying a treat during an Albrecht Adventure Day outing.
Knowing this, new participants are strongly encouraged to join this fun and worthy program. If you are looking to make a difference in a dog’s life, consider participating in an Albrecht Adventure Day. The Center ensures a hassle-free experience by providing all necessary supplies, so both you and your canine companion can enjoy a day full of joy and exploration.
Participating in Albrecht Adventure Days is not just about giving dogs a fun day out; it’s also an opportunity to learn more about their personalities. This insight is invaluable as it helps the Center provide potential adopters with detailed information about each dog’s character and preferences. Participants are encouraged to take photos during their adventures and share them with the Center and on their social media, further aiding in the dogs’ adoption prospects.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, the Center is gearing up for “Doggie Day Dates” – a themed version of Albrecht Adventure Days. This initiative is set to provide an unforgettable Valentine’s experience for both the dogs and the participants, further reinforcing the bond between humans and animals.
These day outings and foster sleepovers are all about giving shelter dogs a chance to thrive, learning who they are beyond the confines of the shelter, and finding them the loving homes they deserve. By participating in these initiatives, you’re not just taking a dog out for a day or weekend; you’re potentially changing their life trajectory, one adventure at a time.
Shelter dog, Cloud enjoying a walk in the park during an Albrecht Adventure Day.
To learn more or to sign up to be part of this life-changing journey, email [email protected] , call (803) 648-6863 or just come by the shelter and ask at the front desk. Open hours are Monday – Saturday, 11am – 4:30pm.
Together, we can make a world of difference in the lives of these deserving animals.
Sarah Neikam is the Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center in Aiken, SC. She has been with the organization since 2012, holding various roles including Volunteer Coordinator and Director of Operations & HR. A Certified Animal Welfare Administrator as of 2022, Sarah is a passionate advocate for animal welfare. She resides in Aiken with her husband, Tom, and their six cats.