Lakeland animal shelter hopes new Rent-A-Dog program helps pups find forever homes

Two-hour dog rentals free at SPCA Florida

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Cortney’s mom won’t let her have a dog.

Ty is an 8-year-old bulldog mix. He has been living at the SPCA Florida animal shelter in Lakeland for a year.

They are both in a tough position.

Thanks to a new free program, Cortney and Ty are both realizing a dream — at least for a few hours.

“He’d be coming home with me if I lived on my own,” says Cortney, who took Ty to Starbucks for a “puppucino” as part of the SPCA Florida’s new Rent-A-Dog program. “He was giving me kisses on the way over.”

Shelters all over the Tampa Bay area are overcrowded.

One benefit of the Rent-A-Dog program see the canines receive some much-needed enrichment and fun.

The program allows you to choose online which pooch you would like to spend two hours with. You can take then the dog to the park, for a hike or for some canine coffee.

“The whole point is to let them get out of the shelter, de-stress and let them have fun and be a dog for a little while,” says SPCA’s Rudie Fox, who warns renters about bringing the dogs home if there is another pet there.

The shelter is also hoping the rental program, which is on Wednesdays for now, will ultimately lead to more adoptions. If the dogs are not adopted by the renters, then maybe their friends or through word-of-mouth.

“We have people who are using this as a way to see if their kids are ready to have a dog,” says Fox.

For more information on the SPCA Florida's Rent-A-Dog program, visit www.spcaflorida.org/rentadog/.

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