How can I get involved?
There are lots of ways to get involved with our organization!
Volunteer Orientation: We train runners to run with adoptable dogs from our partner shelter locations. Check the Facebook Events Calendar for more information about when the next Volunteer Orientation is at your preferred shelter location! All runners who want to go through Volunteer orientation must FIRST go on a Shelter Group Run from the shelter they want to run from. (See below)
Shelter Group Runs: These are runs from our partner shelters. We will bring an adoptable running buddy out for an all-paces-friendly 3 mile run. To go through Volunteer Orientation, runners must first complete a Shelter Group Run. Shelter Group Runs are open to anyone and everyone who wants to meet an adoptable dog and go for a run with us. Not sure if you're ready (or have the time) to volunteer solo? No worries! Not all of our supporters are "volunteers." At Shelter Group Runs you can meet some dog-loving runners and an adoptable dog without the pressure of volunteering by yourself. (And if you like the experience, you can then decide to go through Volunteer Orientation at a later date.) Check the Events Calendar for upcoming runs. (Often, volunteer orientations follow the group runs so you can go out for a Group Run and if you like it, stay for formal training!)
Fun Runs: Check the Events Calendar for Fun Runs or other social gatherings. We hold monthly Fun Runs at our supporting businesses like Althleta Center City and Good Dog Bar. Everyone is invited to these runs! We will sometimes bring an adoptable dog, and sometimes we just go for a run with a pack of awesome humans. Come on out and get social!
Sign up for The Rescue Run 5K. This award winning race is a beloved race on the Philadelphia race calendar and the only race of it's kind in the City!
Learn more about becoming a foster family to an adoptable dog for us to save a life directly.
Do I have to be able to run really far or really fast to come out to a run?
Nope! We do recommend that you have some type of a running routine together before running with us, and there is no time like the present to get started. But our group runs are all-paces friendly and generally last about 30-45 minutes. Not all of our runners are marathon runners, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I’ve never volunteered at an animal shelter. Can I still get involved?
Absolutely. In fact, a vast majority of our volunteers have never stepped foot inside an animal shelter. We welcome shelter newbies and seasoned shelter volunteers with open arms. All runners must first go through a Shelter Group Run and Volunteer Orientation before running solo with adoptable dogs. If you'd rather just come out for Shelter Group Runs, that's OK too! Join us in any way and we'll be happy to run with you.
What shelters do you partner with?
Currently we are partnered three rescues / shelters:
Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
Street Tails Animal Rescue (STAR)
Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT)
If you are affiliated with a shelter in the Philadelphia area and would like to explore monthly fun runs at your shelter, contact us!
Can I adopt or foster a dog from you?
Can I adopt or foster if I'm not a runner?
Absolutely! We encourage all sorts of exercise for our canine companions. Running just happens to be how we like to volunteer. However, our adoptable pups would thrive in any active household. (Truthfully, almost all dogs require some sort of physical activity for long-term health and longevity, just like humans!) Maybe long walks are more your speed, or you plan on taking your pup to agility classes, or hire a dog walker? An exercised dog is a happy dog, and we welcome all forms of exercise. If you would like to learn more about being a foster family for us, or adopting one of our running buddies, please see our ADOPT and FOSTER pages.
Why adopt or foster?
Plain and simple, “They won’t make it without us.” (Borrowing PAWS’ slogan…) Every year over 33,000+ pets enter the Philadelphia shelter system. Even though volunteers at shelters and rescues all over the city work tirelessly to find them homes through events, fostering and networking, we are not yet a no-kill city.
There are aggressive efforts underway to make Philly a No-Kill city (and the numbers are improving annually!), but until then, we’re dealing with the harsh reality that thousands of healthy and social pets risk euthanasia in Philadelphia simply because we don’t have enough adoptive homes. Our City’s intake shelter, ACCT, networks constantly with rescues (like us!) to move dogs to safety (in addition to their own adoption programs.) It really is a team effort in Philly and it starts one dog at a time, and one home at a time
Will you save a life? Fostering and Adopting, opens up a kennel at the shelter. You don’t only save that dog’s life, but also the life of the dog that can be moved into the spare kennel. Will you save two lives? There are dogs right now at risk in Philadelphia. Become a foster family or adoptone of our dogs in foster-care today!
Are you a non-profit?
Yes. We are a 501c3 tax exempt charity.
Do you guys attend running races?
Yep! We run in races to promote the group. We also bring adoptable dogs to the races to encourage people to “adopt a running buddy.” Volunteers can run with us, or stand at the finish line with one of our lucky dogs. At some races, we’ll have a booth set up, while at others we’ll just roam the crowds or set up cheer sections. Volunteers will be needed for races, so check our Events page. If you are race coordinator and would like us to bring a few of our adoptable running buddies to your race, contact us!
I’m a race organizer and would like to have you guys at our race. How do I make that happen?
Just email us! We’ve done heaps of “Adopt a Running Buddy” events – just tell us where to be and when and we’ll make it happen. Usually we’ll bring one or two adoptable dogs in our program to meet and greet runners, along with information on how to get involved. Race participants tend to love the canine additions to the finish line festivities.
Are there any sponsorship opportunities?
Yes! We have various partners who fund our activities, sponsor our foster dogs, provide expertise, & donate supplies. If you would like more information about becoming a partner, please contact us. We are currently looking for dog food company to donate food for our foster program.
Our award-winning, annual Rescue Run 5K is Philly’s first race to benefit and promote rescue and adoption. Annually in September, hundreds of runners gather at the Navy Yard to race in honor of the dogs we love so much. Numerous rescue groups and shelters attend the Rescue Rally following the race. Racers, spectators, family and friends are able to meet furry friends for adoption and get more information about volunteering with local animal shelters. gain, we’ll host a “Rescue Rally” following the race with local shelters and animal welfare groups. If you would like to sponsor this one-of-a-kind event, please see The Rescue Run 5K website for more details. Various sponsorship levels are available.
Can I make a donation?
Yep! We also have an amazon.com WishList set up with needed supplies for our volunteers and foster families. We thank you for your support. You can donate here.
Why Run with a Dog?
Safety: There is nothing like running with a dog for safety purposes, especially for female runners who hit the trails or pavement alone. Pepper sprays are great, but dogs send a clear message: “I am not an easy target.” And you don’t need to be running with an 80 pound guard dog. Even a small dog can cause a big problem when it comes to protecting their parent. Running with dogs allows for safer running, especially in the winter when the days get shorter and running in the dark becomes a necessity for working runners. (Just be sure to wear reflective gear and let your loved ones know your route.)
Motivation: Yeah, we’ve all been there. The alarm goes off a 6AM, it’s cold (or stinking hot), you’d much rather hit snooze and get a few more winks. But alas, your dog has heard the alarm and knows it’s time. It’s time for a run. Not only will you let yourself down, you’ll also let your dog down if you go back to sleep (and if you’re anything like me, you’ll just lay there THINKING about how you SHOULD be running). Running with a canine buddy is amazing motivation. If you’re not going to exercise your dog (and yourself), who will?
Companionship: It’s just more fun to run with a buddy. It really is. Not all of us are big on “group runs,” but the great thing about dogs is that you don’t have to make small talk (when you’re out of breath), you can just… run. With your best friend. You’ll get a wonderful sense of well-being doing something that’s wonderful for yourself and your pooch. The mental and physical benefits for both human and canine are unsurpassed. And you share them with your best furry-friend.
A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog: Never a truer statement was spoken! Often behavioral problems are just attributed to excess energy and boredom. Work it out and you’ll be on your way to a much calmer canine (and human.) Do you think your dog would go bonkers if you tried running with him or her? Give it a try – you might be surprised. In our experience with shelter dogs, many times they’ll try to sprint for the first few blocks, and then break into a very steady jogging pace. Most dogs we’ve worked with, of all breeds, shapes and sizes – make awesome running buddies. (Obviously, certain breeds or dogs with medical conditions and/or injuries are not cut out to be runners. You should discuss running with your vet before getting too ambitious.)