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Dogs on the Run
  Animal Care & Control Presents: Dogs on the Run!
Dogs On The Run will provide shelter dogs with a form of regular, vigorous exercise and bring about a sense of calm  in order to facilitate quicker adoptions and hopefully decrease the number of dogs euthanized each year.  The program will enhance the public’s perception of the shelter and increase awareness about the plight of homeless animals in our community while providing members of our community a fun and satisfying way to give back to those in need.

The primary mission of the  Dogs On The Run program is to connect runners from our community with homeless dogs as running partners and to provide ongoing support for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control Unit.

Program description


Every day from 8:00am until 1:00 pm and 4:00pm until 6:00pm, Dogs On the Run volunteers are able to run, jog or walk in designated parks throughout Charlotte with adoptable dogs from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control. The distance varies depending on the physical condition of the runner and dog. Weather also plays a factor. Volunteers do not go out during thunderstorms, heavy winds, extreme heat or icy conditions. The dogs wear Adopt Me vests indicating that they are available for adoption. These are the primary goals of the program.

  • Vigorously exercise dogs that are confined to kennels for long periods of time
  • Find loving homes for shelter dogs
  • Increase public awareness of the shelter, and let people know that adoptable dogs are not routinely “put to sleep.”
  • Recruit new volunteers for various programs at the shelter
  • Encourage runners and joggers to adopt dogs for companionship and safety
This program is run by the current Animal Care & Control volunteers that are already members of the volunteer program. If you wish to become a volunteer, and ultimately join the Dogs on the Run program, visit the volunteer page to find out how you can become a volunteer.

Volunteer Qualifications:
Dogs On the Run volunteers must be CMPD Animal Care & Control volunteers and in reasonably good physical condition. Volunteers must already have the dog retrieval clearance from the shelter runs. The volunteers run, jog and walk throughout the year. For safety purposes you may run in groups of two or more if you follow the guidelines for running with shelter dogs. You must be committed to the program; however, you are not required to attend a session every week. A sense of humor helps immensely. We really do have fun, while getting exercise!

Training Requirements:
CMPD AC&C volunteer dog retrievers must attend a general Dogs On The Run volunteer orientation session, as well as both dog handling theory (Dog I), and a “hands-on” session, Dog II. These sessions are held on the same day. Sessions cover on how to enter a kennel to leash a dog using a harness and the Adopt Me vest, what to take along on the run, what to be aware of along the route, and how to handle emergencies etc.

You will make needy, homeless dogs very happy! We don’t always run the same dogs each week, however, there have been instances when a particular dog is at the shelter for several weeks, and believe me, they really react in an enthusiastic way when you head towards their run with running shoes on and a leash in hand! String cheese helps too! Every so often a dog may slip you five bucks for special treats!

Grab your running shoes and stretch those muscles and let's get these Dogs on the Run! We thank AC&C Volunteer Beth Brown for proposing and implementing this dog running program!
A special shout out thank you goes to the manager of the Pineville Petsmart store, Philip Masonoff! He sold us 15 harnesses at a discount in honor of the dogs on the run program. These harnesses will used on the dogs that get to spend a few hours on the run at parks with approved volunteers. Thank you very much Mr. Masonoff and Pineville Petsmart!