We are big supporters of animal adoption here at the studios, you might be familiar with our Wet Nose Wednesday articles.


Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter (YVAS) has introduced a program called "Hiking Hounds." This initiative allows volunteers to take shelter dogs on day-long hikes one weekend a month, providing the dogs with much-needed exercise, socialization, and a break from the shelter environment. It also offers volunteers a unique and fulfilling way to contribute to the well-being of these animals while enjoying the beauty of Montana's outdoors.

Advantages For All

Hiking Hounds is designed to address several key issues faced by shelter dogs. Prolonged stays in a shelter can be stressful and lead to physical and behavioral issues due to lack of exercise and social interaction. By taking dogs on hikes, volunteers help alleviate these problems, giving the dogs a chance to expend energy, experience new environments, and interact with different people.

Hiking in the mountains with my adopted babies. Credit: Jaci Bjorne, TSM
Hiking in the mountains with my adopted babies.
Credit: Jaci Bjorne, TSM

This program not only benefits the dogs but also enhances the volunteer experience. Volunteers who love the outdoors and animals can combine their passions, making the act of volunteering more enjoyable and meaningful. Hiking Hounds also attracts individuals who may not have considered traditional shelter volunteering roles but are excited about the prospect of hiking with a canine companion.

How It Works

The program is structured to ensure the safety and well-being of both the dogs and the volunteers. The shelter provides all necessary equipment, including leashes, harnesses, and waste bags, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Volunteers may bring treats if they desire.

Volunteers are encouraged to take photos and share their hiking adventures on social media, which helps promote the program and the dogs available for adoption. This visibility can significantly increase the chances of these dogs finding forever homes. Hiking Hounds exemplifies how creative volunteer programs can significantly enhance the lives of shelter animals and volunteers alike.

Coming Up

The first Hiking Hounds adventure is scheduled to take place on June 22nd. Email rebekah.wong@yvas.org to volunteer, the volunteers will meet at YVAS at 8:00 a.m. and will head to Roscoe for a hike from East Rosebud to Elk Lake.

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