Dogs make wonderful companions, but not every dog lover can have one as a pet.
Locally, folks in that situation can still help shelter dogs in need through Charlotte Animal Care and Control’s “Staycation” and “Daycation” programs, which allow residents to take in a furry friend for a short-term stay.
The program is especially helpful when the animal shelter is at or near capacity, which has happened multiple times in the last year. Freeing up space in the city’s kennels makes room for more pets in need and lowers the chances of the shelter having to consider euthanizing dogs.
Here’s what to know about helping dogs in need in the Charlotte community without a long-term commitment:
How to have a ‘staycation’ with a dog
Charlotte Animal Care and Control’s ‘Staycation” program allows residents to take home shelter dogs for a few days to help alleviate space issues at the shelter while giving the dog some time in a home environment.
All dogs except those in the “pre-adoption kennels” or who have disqualifying “behavior or medical issues” are eligible for a staycation.
Anyone is eligible to bring home a dog, regardless of where they live, and can come by during the shelter’s business hours to check out the animals. You don’t need to make an appointment ahead of time or fill out an application to take home a dog for a staycation, but you will need to show an ID and sign a waiver.
“Just be sure to come with enough time to meet the dog and check them out,” Animal Care and Control says. “You do not need to bring your own leash and collar but it is encouraged as our supplies may run low due to the popularity of this program.”
Dogs are expected back at the shelter after five days. If you fall in love with the dog you watched, you have the option to adopt the dog for free rather than returning it to the shelter.
How to have a ‘daycation’ with a dog
If you want to help care for a shelter dog but don’t have the capacity to have one in your home for five days, Animal Care and Control also has a “daycation” program.
“If you can dedicate a full or even half a day to take them out for whatever, you can participate,” the group says.
To participate, come by the shelter between 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays. Like with the staycation program, you don’t need an appointment or application, but you will need to show an ID and sign a waiver.
Animal Care and Control recommend bringing a collar and leash if possible because supplies at the shelter often run low.
“Please keep in mind this is a flex program that we can only offer when we do not have a line of adopters waiting to meet dogs,” the shelter notes. “Adopters are potential homes, and we don’t want the dogs to miss out on a forever home opportunity.”
Dogs on a daycation need to be returned to Animal Care and Control by the time the shelter closes.