Shelter dogs head out on high adventures


It’s a team effort for the success of shelter dogs, and the pooches are loving it.

Chesterfield Animal Services has teamed up with Ring Dog Rescue and Canine Adventure to give shelter dogs better lives and better chances of being adopted.

All breeds of dogs are included in the program.

“Ring Dog reached out to us and wanted to provide help and assistance to the animal shelter,” Chesterfield County Animal Services manager Carrie Jones said. “One of their ideas was to partner with Canine Adventure to provide an exercise program for the shelter dogs. The collaboration began, and the program was implemented in February. It was recently expanded in June to include off-site adventures as well.”

The program is a benefit for the animal shelter.

“Shelter dogs receive exercise, one-on-one time out of the cage and also learn basic obedience training,” Jones said. “During the adventure walk, the handlers are able to get more of a feel for the dog’s true personality. In turn, this allows us to better match a pet with an appropriate adoptive family. The dogs are also shared on Canine Adventure’s social media sites, which give the dogs more exposure to potential adopters.”

“It’s always inspiring to work with dogs who are in the rescue network,” said Josh Rickey, founder of Canine Adventures. “Time out of the shelter is not only fun, but also gives us the opportunity to get to know the dogs and how they do in the real world.”

Rickey said the adventures benefit the dogs in many ways.
“The exercise is a great stress reliever for a dog who is at a shelter,” Rickey said. “And they get to practice obedience, leashed walking, riding in the car … all things that help a dog become someone’s pet. It’s also a great opportunity for us to showcase the dogs in photos and in a write-up, helping them put their best paws forward for potential adopters. The walkers get to know a new friend, and they also get the opportunity to continue building their dog handling skills through experience.”

Dogs ride in a car, walk on a leash, meet people and other dogs, splash or swim in the river, explore, sniff, climb on logs and rocks, and generally enjoy the parks when out on their adventures, Rickey said.

Canine Adventure generally chooses parks that are reasonably close to where the dog is staying for walks and adventures, Rickey said. “For dogs downtown, we’ll often go to the James River Park System, but we also go to Pocahontas State Park, Deep Run, Rockwood Park, to name a few.”

The program is tailored to meet different needs.
“At Richmond Animal Care and Control and Richmond Animal League, they select dogs they’d like to send out for adventures based on who would benefit the most,” Rickey explained. “At Chesterfield Animal Services, we have a Canine Adventure staff member select dogs who would be a good fit for adventure. Ring Dog Rescue has been sending their dogs out on adventures with us for close to a decade. They financially supplement a program with us that gets dogs out on shorter walks with professional handlers from Canine Adventure.

“This program is one of the ways my company is able to give back to the community,” Rickey said. “By working with dogs who are in need, we are able to help them find the right homes. As a business, it’s incumbent upon us to help shape the world we want to live in. A world where homeless dogs have real opportunities to find loving families is a world we, at Canine Adventure, want to help create.”

For more information on becoming a dog walker or the program, go to, or and search for “animal services unit.”


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