ONLY ON KOLD: PACC pup day trip program gets dogs out of the shelter

ONLY ON KOLD: PACC pup day trip program gets dogs out of the shelter
This is just one of the pups benefiting from a new program at the Pima Animal Care Center. (Source: Tucson News Now) (Heather Janssen)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Pima Animal Care Center has the most dogs they’ve had all year.

More than 400 of them spend their days in kennels, waiting for someone to give them a home.

“The banging and the barking. They’re all just confused,” explained Laurie Fenske, a former dog owner herself.

Fenske now volunteers her time fostering dogs by the day at the Pima Animal Care Center.

It's one of PACC's newest programs, centered around day trips and 'pawjama' parties. Earlier this summer, Fenske took Missy home for the day.

“She just wanted to get out,” she said. “They just want to get out and have a life.”

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Fenske is among dozens checking out dogs for a day since the program started in May. It gives them a chance to leave their kennels.

This program not only gets them out of the kennel for the day, but gives them a chance to socialize with people and other animals. Fosters can take them out for a few days at a time, even just one if need be. It makes all the difference.

"There's no comparison to the love and attention a dog could get in a home given by one person," explained Rachel Jones, PACC's Post Placement Foster Coordinator. Jones said the goal of the program is to find these animals a happy home. "Either they don't come back because the person who takes them falls in love with them or they're like 'I'm going to market this animal into adoption."

Fenske's efforts found one for her first foster, Missy. "Her eyes. They looked... they just said, love me. Keep me. Give me a home," she said. It's become a new passion of hers.

It helps Fenske heal, too. She lost her Yorkie earlier this year.

"Our beloved Remy. We just can't get into full ownership. But when you look at the kennels, they look at you. They just want to love you," she said.

Her love for the program brought her back to PACC a second time, to find that kind of love for a dog named Melanie. When she checks out a dog, an exciting day lies ahead for the pair.

Fenske touts the pup around town, promoting their adoption. Dogs like Missy and Melanie wear a leash with the words ‘adopt me’ on it.

The day KOLD tagged along, Melanie was taken around the farmer’s market off River and Campbell. Several people stopped to play with her. The next destination was Fenske’s home, where Melanie enjoyed the freedom of roaming around a large yard. Her tail couldn’t stop wagging from happiness.

“If you can help one, that’s a good thing,” Fenske said. Helping even one helps her. “Dogs touch people’s lives. They make them smile. Even if they’re not adopting them.”

Fenske said she’ll keep fostering and working to find these dogs not just any home... but the right one.

PACC has gotten questions about whether or not they would start something like this for other animals like cats.

We were told cats likely wouldn’t respond well to day trips... but they plan on holding events like ‘Cat Yoga’ to get them adopted in the future.

To foster a dog for a day or night only, you can send an email to PACC at pacc.foster@pima.gov,

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