New Jersey animal shelter's 'field trips' let you bond with adoptable dogs

Through the "Field Trip" program at the St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey – you can hang out with a dog up for adoption, without the long-term commitment.

"We kind of joke that it's like a ‘gateway drug,’" said Sarah Sangree, the director of Community Engagement at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center. "Someone comes in for a field trip, and they see what a nice place we have, and they've taken a wonderful dog out and then maybe they ask us about the dog."

"We tell them about fostering, and maybe then they want to take that dog home to foster," Sangree said. "If someone takes a field trip with a dog and loves the dog, we'll say, 'you want to take the dog home for the weekend?' So we just have all different ways to kind of promote our animals and make it as easy as possible for people to participate."

The program started back in 2019 as another way to give the dogs a break from being in their kennels.

"I can see them immediately relax in the car ride at home," said participant, Dayanna Valverde. "I give them a chance to just enjoy a home environment for a few hours. I've just been doing some local parks, but primarily home, just so they can have that feeling, and they do just about anything, play with us, we buy them toys, we dress them up, we just let them cuddle and decompress – and my favorite part is when they nap."

Valverde added when you know the field trip is working, calling the experience to build a relationship with a dog and seeing them find a forever home amazing – and sometimes that's going home with the same person who decided to brighten their day in the first place.

Field trips are by appointment only. For more info, click HERE.