I saw this article on a few news outlets recently, and I think this is an inspired idea. A high school cross country team in California has begun running with shelter dogs in need of adoption. Shelter dogs, particularly those that are caged for long periods, can develop stress-related behaviors such as spinning, bar chewing and cage aggression. Regular opportunities for play and exercise can make all the difference for dogs housed at a shelter. And the cross country kids benefit from helping out some dogs in need.
The same is true for pet dogs that have already been adopted. Regular exercise can dramatically improve a dog’s quality of life, reduce anxiety and decrease the incidence of destructive behaviors in the home. I’ve said it before: tired dogs are well behaved dogs! (So are tired kids. Sometimes.) Hopefully other schools with cross country teams will be inspired to allow their student athletes run with the dogs!