Twice a month, senior police officer, Aundrea Holiday visits the Heritage Humane Society in Williamsburg, Virginia. She arrives bright and early, loads an adoptable pooch into her cruiser, and spends the morning patrolling for potential adopters.
The program is called Dog For A Day, and it has been extremely successful since its inception last February.
“All of the adoptable pets that she [Officer Holiday] has taken out in 2019 have been adopted out,” Jennifer LaFountain, a volunteer and community engagement manager with the Heritage Humane Society told WSLS News.
The first stop on the dogs’ adventure is a vigorous walk through beautiful downtown Williamsburg. This allows the Dog For A Day pup-ticipants to stretch their legs and shake off any cage anxiety.
“They get their energy out, they get their zoomies out and just have a great time,” said Holiday.
Next, a quick ride in Holiday’s SUV takes them to city hall to meet some fellow government dog lovers. The socialization is excellent for the dogs’ behavioral development, and the belly rubs are great, too!
Holiday says these social calls are not only rewarding for the dogs, but they also bring joy to the people they meet along the way.
“You should see people’s faces. They get a big smile on their face as soon as you see them so it kind of makes other people’s day too.”
After city hall, it’s on to local dog-friendly businesses. Along the way they meet and greet community members hoping to catch someone’s eye.
Holiday also makes sure to bring the dogs by the police station so the other officers can get their puppy fix.
Best of all, each dog is treated to a delicious fast-food cheeseburger to top off their big day.
Officer Holiday’s most recent canine partner is a nine-year-old Pit Bull mix named CJ. Dogs of his age and breed tend to be more difficult to adopt out. CJ has already been at HHS for nearly two months; two weeks longer than the average shelter dog.
Not only does the Dog For A Day program give pups like CJ a much-needed break from shelter life, but it also allows the community to interact with them in a low-stress environment. Rather than barking, pacing dogs in cages, potential adopters get to see their true personalities.
The main goal is to help local shelter dogs get adopted, but it also gives Holiday the opportunity to engage with local residents and visitors.
She hopes to eventually add more officers to the program and help even more dogs.