Jog for dogs
Navy volunteers help find homes for shelter dogs
By Danielle Brubaker 08/01/2013
It’s not every day one encounters a pack of dogs walking around an outlet mall. On Saturday, July 27, Navy volunteers started their morning off with a bark by jogging from the Camarillo animal shelter to the Camarillo outlet mall – a total of two miles – with eight homeless dogs by their sides.
The canines, wearing vests that said “Adopt Me,” were eager to meet children, families and even out-of-town visitors. The shoppers were equally as enthusiastic to say hello to the energetic pooches.
This new program, Jog for Dogs, was instigated by Ventura County Animal Services in order to expose homeless dogs looking to be adopted.
Donna Gillesby, interim director of VCAS, was happily willing to provide the dogs for this event.
“It was really great to get them off site and out into the community,” Gillesby said. “Even though most of the time they are behind bars, they’re still dogs who love people and who love to run around.”
Marco Carrillo, U.S. Navy petty officer second class and volunteer coordinator of Jogs for Dogs, pitched the idea to VCAS in order to combine exercise and exposure.
“It was a great way to serve the community and to represent not only the Navy but also the animal shelter,” said Carrillo.
As members of the military, Carrillo and his fellow sailors are required to participate in physical training three times a week.
“I figured, why not use that time to not only promote a good cause but also to give these dogs who have been locked up for a while a good run,” said Carrillo.
Each of the Navy volunteers had to undergo a four-hour intense training class on animal handling and behavior modification techniques.
“We were lectured on multiple things, including certain safety precautions, how to approach the dogs in the kennel, how to put the leash on them, and how to control them from jumping on people walking around the mall,” said Navy volunteer Sam Sharp.
Carrillo, along with the other Navy volunteers stationed at Point Mugu, hope to make this a monthly event, and are brainstorming other places to show off the dogs throughout Ventura County.
“We are even thinking about expanding this event to a program where people can ‘check out’ a dog for a couple hours and take them to a park or the beach,” Gillesby said.
The process of getting this event approved was smooth and easy. Brian Sikoff, assistant general manager of Camarillo Premium Outlets, only had three stipulations in order for the event to occur.
“The dogs had to be on leashes, they had to be prescreened to behave well in public (not too aggressive or hyperactive), and the Navy volunteers had to clean up after the dogs,” Sikoff said.
The Camarillo outlet mall is a very pet-friendly and welcoming place for dogs of all sizes.
“We are thrilled to partner with the VCAS and were happy to let them have their event here,” Sikoff said. “I understand the issue of over-crowdedness at the shelter, and anything we can do to help the worthwhile cause of adoption, we will.”
This event was a jumpstart to the VCAS event Dog-Gone Cat-A-Strophic Pet-a-Thon, which occurred at the animal shelter on Sunday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., during which pet adoption prices were cut in half. The animal shelter has more than 100 of both dogs and cats and even a horse and a donkey. It is hoped that with the help of the Navy volunteers and VCAS personnel, our furry four-legged friends will find loving families to call their own.
The Camarillo Animal Shelter is located at 600 Aviation Drive.