Hike with a hound
Shelter dogs enjoy weekly Adams Gulch
Hikiní Buddies walks
By MEGAN THOMAS
Express Staff Writer
Rush hour at Adams Gulch?
Luckily, itís is far from typical traffic.
Instead, itís a typical Wednesday with an
eager crowd gathered to take part in the Adams Gulch Hikiní Buddies program.
Tori Schimchick, Marie Blakley and Ally
Blakley walk Fritzie as part of the Adams Gulch Hikiní Buddies program.
Express photos by David N. Seelig
Each Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.,
the Animal Shelter of Wood River Valley brings a collection of dogs to the
trailhead for a weekly walk with volunteers.
"Itís like they (the dogs) look forward to
it," Leslie Luray, a board member of the shelter, remarked.
Human companions anticipate the walks as
well, as indicated by the number of hikers who turn out each week. Some weeks as
many as 20 people wait for the dogs to arrive from the Hailey shelter, Luray
The shelter welcomes walkers to spend time
with the animals for as little or as long as they like. The shelter provides
collars and leads for the dogs.
The goal of the hiking program is to
provide exercise, fun and stimulation for the animals.
Allie, a shy shelter dog, benefits from
the program each week.
"Allie has made tremendous improvement
since she has been taken to Adams Gulch," an observer wrote in the dogís file.
Participants are encouraged to record their experiences with the animals.
The weekly hikes encourage socialization
with humans and several lucky dogs are adopted along the way.
Woody is one lucky canine who found a
He enjoyed a hike with a couple from out
of town. The couple remarked to Karen Bohlke, a shelter volunteer, that Woody
was the nicest dog they had ever walked
With shelter volunteersí encouragement the
Bohlke family adopted Woody.
Some adopted dogs stay in the valley,
while others have found homes with people visiting from Washington, D.C.,
Florida and California.
The participants who walk the dogs are
often repeat volunteers from out of town, Luray said. These visitors have pets
that canít come along vacations. Others are valley residents who attend every
Attendance is so great that shelter
volunteers bring their own pets as reserve dogs. Hikers can take these pets if
all of the shelter dogs are on walks.
Shelter staff consider the Adams Gulch
Hikiní Buddies program one of the most progressive shelter activities in the
Other shelters that are curious about the
program continually contact the Wood River facility. Luray said the shelter
fields questions from other agencies as far away as California, New Jersey and
Unfortunately, similar programs are
difficult to implement in other places because communities lack the luxury of
room to roam.
"The Wood River Valley is so fortunate to
have the space," Luray explained.
The vast system of trails is a blessing
for homeless dogs in the area, as are the abundance of volunteers.
The shelter welcomes volunteers to walk
the dogs, drivers to transport the dogs and others to help check dogs in and