Roanoke Shelter Participates in Study to Lower Stress in Shelter Dogs

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Virginia Tech and Arizona State University are partnering with Maddie’s Fund and a Roanoke Animal Shelter to see if short-term fostering and field trips lower the stress level of shelter dogs.

Meghann Cords is the Foster Coordinator/FRVR Kittens Lead Coordinator for the Regional Center for Animal Care & Protection.

She says 90 RCACP dogs are involved in the study.

"The dogs go on field trips, the volunteers act as chaperones, and everyone has fun.

When they arrive on their field trip day, we let the volunteers decide what adventure they’d like to go on and we match them with one of our dogs that would enjoy whatever activity they have planned.

We’ve had volunteers take dogs on hikes, walks on the Greenway, to Explore Park, local restaurants and breweries, Black Dog Salvage and many more places.

We really want the volunteers and our dogs to just enjoy some time together."

When the volunteers bring the dog back to the shelter, they fill out a "report card" about where they went and more about the dog's personality.

Cords says researchers also follow up with dogs that have participated and have been adopted or transferred to other shelters.

"We’ve been working with Virginia Tech and ASU researchers since May of this year and will most likely be participating through the end of 2019.

However, the RCACP is planning on continuing our field trip program indefinitely as long as there are volunteers willing to take our dogs out for adventures."

She says while the study uses select dogs on specific days, the Roanoke Adventure Dog Program is held Monday through Friday. The person checking out the dog must be over 18, but the entire family is welcome to p