With more dogs coming into the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter than leaving, shelter staff is finding new ways to address the facility’s ongoing capacity crisis, such as the Doggy Day Out program.

“We just can’t keep up with the pace of animals coming in compared to animals going out,” Program Coordinator April Peiffer said. “It’s pretty exhausting, frankly. So we really hope that maybe something like this program will be the kick start that is needed to get some more dogs out and not replace them so quickly.”

The Doggy Day Out program allows anyone age 18 and older to foster a dog for a day. It was set up to provide the staff with some relief—the shelter reached 190 dogs in February—and provide the organization with information about the animals they serve.

“So many pets—the vast majority—don’t tell us who they are while they’re here in the shelter,” Peiffer said. “It’s not a natural environment for them to be in. It’s not at all like what a home environment is like.”

By taking a dog out for the day, fosters can learn their temperament and characteristics and report back to shelter, helping the staff better match pets with their forever homes. Those who participate can take their dog to a park, go for a run or a car ride, or bring them home for a nap on the couch before returning them to the shelter by 5:30 p.m. that day.

“We want the focus to be on that shelter pet for that time that they are away from the shelter,” Peiffer said. “We want them to be pampered, adored and just lavished with attention.”

Fosters will receive a card to carry with them while out with the dog in case someone expresses interest in adopting. There is no cost or background check required to participate in the Doggy Day Out program. The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, located at 1855 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown, is open every day from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, call 512-943-3322.