Kaitlyn McIlvaine has always had a special place in her heart for shelter dogs. The proud owner of two rescued dogs, Kaityln was extremely disheartened after hearing of the unfortunate displacement and euthanization of so many dogs following recent hurricanes. Wanting to extend her efforts, Kaitlyn started Dog Jog, a volunteer-led event that connects runners with adoptable dogs from a local shelter. Through Dog Jog, runners of all backgrounds and levels of experience meet once a week at a local animal shelter, select a dog of their choosing, and run with the dog through the neighborhood and surrounding forest preserve. Dog Jog gives each shelter dog the opportunity for exercise, social interaction opportunities with humans and other dogs, and the freedom of exploring the great outdoors through what dogs have always loved doing – running!
Kaitlyn initially started Dog Jog with the intent to exercise the dogs that were cooped up in their shelter crates throughout the day. But the more time Kaitlyn spent exercising the dogs at the shelter each week, the more she realized there were other benefits to Dog Jog that she hadn’t originally anticipated. Week after week, many of the dogs that Kaitlyn runs with are still there, patiently waiting with the same energy and spirit as the week before. Like Blackberry, a 3-year-old Doberman Pinscher mix with a heart of gold, who’s been at Wrightway Rescue since September of last year. He’s strong, puts up a good run, but is thrilled to see his human friends come visit him. There’s also Legolas, the young Husky/Lab mix with the sweetest disposition, not to be confused with Myrtle — who’s literally leg-less, but a great adventurer nonetheless!
Though these dogs greatly benefit from the exercise they receive with the Dog Joggers each week, what they really need is a regular running partner in their forever home. Kaitlyn has made it Dog Jog’s mission to expose adoptable dogs to as many people as possible, whether they’re looking to adopt or not. Through photos and stories, Dog Jog participants are helping create awareness of all the wonderful dogs that Wright-Way Rescue, and so many other shelters, are trying to place in homes. The hope is that one day soon, each dog will eventually run its way into someone’s home for good.
Be sure to meet us at Wright-Way Rescue (5915 Lincoln Avenue, Morton Grove, IL) on Sundays at 9:00am. All running types are encouraged to come, regardless of their level of experience! The more runners present, the more dogs that will have the opportunity to exercise and spend quality time with a loving volunteer.
For more information, visit wright-wayrescue.org/dogjog/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
~Dogs Deserve It, February 2018