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At the Richmond Animal Care and Control facilities in Henrico County, Virginia, dogs are making a big splash – while dogs like the lovable Mayor McCheese wait for their forever homes, they get to let off some steam in their very own pool.
According to Christie Peters, Director of the RACC, Mayor McCheese gets incredibly excited for his forays into the pool “He knows when he’s going swimming… He jumps in the truck by himself, and the exercise and therapy alone has changed his outlook on life. He’s happier, he’s calmer.”
Advanced Canine Education, a nonprofit facilitated by Alpha Dog Club, helped to make this new program possible. The goal of the program is to help shelter dogs be outside and active outside the shelter, which is fundamental to maintain their mental health and sense of calm.
Alan Douglas, president of Alpha Dog Club, finds a lot of fulfillment in seeing the dogs play in the pool. “For dogs that have been neglected and not have a home, to have that kind of individual attention they have from getting in the pool and have some fun, it just changes their disposition.”
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Letting these dogs out to swim gives them innumerable benefits, such as increasing their fitness and confidence, which can help them find a forever home. Swimming helps them to become more ready for families, and keeps them much happier and in better shape.
Hermine Douglas, board chair for Alpha Dog, agrees: “No matter how bad a day you’re having, you watch the dogs swim and there is such pure joy in their body, in their expression… “You can’t have a bad day.”
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If you want to sponsor a dog and give them the chance to take advantage of the RACC program, you can click here to get involved.