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Animal rescues take part in ‘happy hour’ study to see how time outside shelter affects dogs

Posted at 3:31 PM, Jul 29, 2019

Animal shelters across the country are taking part in a nationwide study that's giving animal lovers the chance to hang out with a dog.

Participant Moira Hopkins loves a good happy hour. However, instead of getting a drink, Hopkins is picking up a dog at the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C.

She picks up a dog named Jackie, who is part of the shelter’s happy hour program. It allows volunteers to take dogs out of the shelter and hang out with them for a few hours to let the dogs escape from the stress of that environment.

“You just sort of see the tension just dissipate,” Hopkins says. “A great happy is when they suddenly end up taking a long, long nap because they don't get good sleep in a shelter because it's noisy and chaotic.”

The shelter is taking part in a national study by Arizona State University to examine how getting out of a shelter, even for just a few hours, can affect dogs.

Workers at the Humane Rescue Alliance say they've seen how a short getaway can help lower stress levels and even make dogs more adoptable.

“When dogs appear less stressed to a potential adopter, that makes adopters want to meet them because they're calm and they're lying in their den, rather than jumping around and barking and acting all stressed out,” says Jennah Billeter, who works at the shelter.

The ultimate goal is for these happy hours to lead to happy outcomes.

“It has really, really good outcomes for both the human and for the dog, because the human gets to have the love of a dog and enjoy them and sometimes maybe even end up adopting them, because they fall in love with them on a happy hour,” Hopkins says.

For more information, visit the shelter’s website .