Shelter Dogs Get Amazing Opportunity With High School Cross-Country Team

By Renee Colvert

There are some pairings so perfect that after they're put together the only thing you think is "DUH," and partnering high school cross-country teams with shelter dogs is at the top of our "DUH!" list.

The idea is all thanks to Stacy Silva, a coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter. She is good friends with high school cross-country coach, Luis Escobar, and last summer she mentioned that his runners should run with her dogs.

Escobar was immediately on board, summarizing "[She had] a bunch of dogs that are in cages, and want to be outside running, and I [had] a group of high school students that love to run. Perfect match."

The runners were initially sold on the idea with the promise of community hours for college applications. But the endeavor quickly became unconditional, when the high schoolers saw how excited the dogs were to see them.

HS cross country runners gear up their dogs for a run.

Just prior to our St. Joseph High School Cross Country Team Shelter Dog Group Run. Everyone is excited and ready to go! Please help find these shelter dogs a real home. If you are available to adopt contact Stacy Silva at (805) 934-6981. Also share these videos and encourage your friends to share. Together we can get these dogs out of the shelter.

Posted by Luis Escobar on Friday, August 5, 2016

Coach Escobar posted a video of the run on Facebook.

This morning me and the St. Joseph High School Cross Country Team conducted our workout at the County Animal Shelter in Santa Maria. With the help of Stacy Silva we successfully completed the first ever team Dog Run! Each team member was assigned a dog and we went out for a couple miles around the shelter. I am not sure who was more excited and having the most fun...the dogs or the kids. Either way, it was a great time and I am sure we will do it again sometime soon. Thanks Stacy Silva and Geoff Clinton

Posted by Luis Escobar on Thursday, August 4, 2016

The video understandably went viral. Namely, because the idea is fantastic. But there's also a hilarious dog named Fred at the end, who's too pooped to run. Josh, a runner, is seen carrying Fred across the finish line, a close up of Fred shows he's perfectly healthy, just tired of running.

Fred
credit: Fred

The program was a massive success. Stacy Silva explained that because the dogs were being socialized and had regular exercise they were more calm and relaxed at the shelter resulting in more adoptions. In fact, most of the dogs in the video have been adopted.

Better still, word spread quickly about the success of this partnership and now numerous high school cross country teams across the U.S. have created similar programs with their local shelters.

And if that wasn't enough of a happy ending, would you like to know what became of little tuckered out Fred? He was adopted by Josh, the buddy who carried him across the finish line. These days the two are best friends and go running every day... until Fred gets tired, then it's more of a run/carry situation.