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PACK (People & Animal Cardio Klub)

Birds fly, fish swim, and dogs run!

Check out more PACK photos on our Facebook album!

harmony w dolores
Photo by Dolores Hamilton

Make a difference in an animal’s life and get healthy. The People and Animal Cardio Klub (PACK) consist of current WHS-WARL volunteers who run with our adoptable dogs. PACK provides additional outdoor recreation for adoptable dogs while they wait for their forever homes. A well-exercised dog will display a more presentable and accurate representation of their true character when being viewed in their kennel apartments by potential adopters.

By jogging alongside other dogs and people, adoptable dogs gain:

  • Exploration of new scenery and fresh air
  • A positive outlet to channel tension and energy
  • An opportunity to stretch muscles, improve cardio health, & strengthen bones
  • Stability and socialization that a pack (human & canine) provides
  • An additional opportunity to be seen by potential adopters
  • Training that may continue to develop with a new family

PACK volunteers gain:

  • New friendships
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • A volunteer opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of DC animals

Please note: WHS-WARL does not transport the dogs to PACK runs. Volunteers should be prepared to transport the dogs to and from the PACK meets. If you cannot transport, you can train and run with the PACK but you won't have a dog to run with.

How to Get Involved with PACK

Currently, PACK runs Saturday mornings at 8:00 AM (New York Avenue and Oglethorpe dogs), and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM (New York Ave dogs only). Ideally, volunteers are able to pick up and transport a dog from either the New York Avenue NE or Oglethorpe Street NW adoption center to Rock Creek Park or the National Arboretum. 

Steps to becoming a PACK-ster:

  • Complete the volunteer application/waiver (please note there is a nonrefundable $25 application fee. Applications will not be processed until payment is received)
  • After review, you will be invited to attend a Volunteer Orientation if your skills, interests and abilities match the organization's needs
  • Once approved, PACK trainees will then be invited to attend a PACK training class
  • Once volunteers complete training, they'll be assigned a PACK mentor whom they will shadow for a minimum of three outings
  • Only after the mentor signs off on the trainees ability to safely transport and handle a dog will the the trainee become a fully fledged PACK-ster!
  • Please note, from start to finish, it can take about 3 months to complete PACK training. IF YOU ARE ONLY IN DC FOR A SHORT TIME, THIS IS NOT THE PROGRAM FOR YOU!

We ask PACK volunteers to commit to two outings per month, each outing is about 2-3 hours. Participants can run or walk, and the distance is approximately 5K.

Still have questions? Email volunteer@washhumane.org

The History of PACK:

gary PACK photo
Photo by Wanda Lau

The PACK program began in Spring 2008 when two WHS employees went running with Spike. Spike was one of the first pit bull type dogs to become available for adoption at WHS. He fell into his stride within minutes and ran heel side with his human partner for the duration of the run. Spike focused on his task-at-paw and showed little interest in the other dog running alongside him or of the neighborhood dogs strolling about the city - typical Saturday morning for many, a day at Disney for Spike, and a turning point for a new pilot program. Spike still regularly enjoys outdoor adventures with his adopted family.

Hear what others are saying about the PACK!

"PACK provides us valuable information about the dogs at our adoption centers, as well as gives the dogs an energy outlet and mental stimulation.  We get to see how the dogs respond to things they don't normally see or hear in the adoption center, such as bikes, sirens, flying kites, and squirrels.  This information allows us to give an adopter a picture of what everyday life will be like with this dog.  After the run, everybody enjoys a training and snuggle session, where the dogs and volunteers work on behaviors like “sit” and “stay.” Then everyone sits on the ground, while the dogs climb into their laps and lick their faces.  PACK is so rewarding for both dogs and volunteers alike." - Alison, Behavior and Training Counselor (Read more on our blog - PACK Works!)

PACK group photo
Photo by Wanda Lau

"Kermit is a really great example of what PACK can be good for. When I first started transporting Kermit to PACK in January, he was scared of his own shadow. He was scared to get in the car. If we weren't moving, he stood around shaking, and his tail stayed tucked between his legs almost the whole time. But after a couple trips to PACK, he started loosening up and enjoying himself. He started hopping in the car like a pro and would sit casually waiting for PACK to start.  He ran with his tail up and wagging. Based on how he was improving at PACK, I would have never guessed he was having a hard time in the adoption center." - Mary, PACK Volunteer (Read more on our blog - PACK Works!)

"If you've ever needed incentive or motivation to keep running, run with the PACK. It's impossible to quit when you look down at your running partner and see that you've just provided this wonderful dog with a gift so rewarding, necessary, and freeing. Everybody wins when we run." - Dolores, WHS-WARL Volunteer

PACK Sponsors

Big Dogs
 PG Consulting

Sporting Dogs 




Howard Goldstein M.D.
Internal Medicine

Support PACK >>

Interested in becoming a PACK sponsor? Contact our behavior and learning team at askthetrainer@washhumane.org *Please note this is for sponsorship inquiries only. To become a PACK volunteer, please apply to the volunteer program and indicate your interest in PACK on the application.

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