Animal lovers who can't adopt or foster can now enjoy a day or short outing with a pup

Grace Lee and her husband moved from Manhattan to New Tampa during the COVID pandemic. As soon as they were settled into their new home, they knew they wanted to welcome another dog into their family. That's how Lee came across Hillsborough County's Pet Resource Center (PRC) and discovered the Adventure Tails program.

The Lee household and the dogs they've adopted, fostered, and took on Adventure Tails outings haven't been the same since - a common, happy side effect seen in many PRC volunteers. The program provides fun and stress relief for both dogs and volunteers.

Dogs: A gateway compulsion to more dogs

Lee found her Chow Chow mix, Maple, through PRC when she was looking to adopt a senior dog. She knew that a calmer, more mature pup would make a comforting companion for her other dog, Bear. Though Lee found exactly what she was looking for when she adopted Maple, she couldn't stay away from all the other orphaned dogs at PRC.

Knowing that she could do more to reduce the suffering of lonely dogs, Lee decided to foster an 8-year-old American pit bull terrier mix named Sebastain. Sebastain had been at PRC for almost a year and suffered from FAS (fear, anxiety, and stress). FAS often develops in animals when they remain in shelters for too long. In addition to fostering, Lee also routinely volunteers to take dogs on outings through the Adventure Tails program.

American pit bull terrier mix
Lee is currently fostering an 8-year-old American pit bull terrier mix named Sebastain. Sebastain is available for adoption. Contact the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center at or call (813) 272-1157 for more information about bringing home Sebastain or one of his friends from the PRC.

Adventure Tails

The Adventure Tails program gives dogs a chance to get out of their kennels and have a break from the chaos of communal shelter living. It also offers volunteers an opportunity to have quality dog time without the commitment needed for fostering or adopting.

Adventure Tails volunteers take dogs out for a half day (about four hours) or a full day. The time away gives animals the social stimulation and emotional comfort they often do not get in a crowded shelter. By keeping their minds and senses engaged, and their bodies active, dogs often have much better kennel presence after they return to PRC.

Many people that come to the center to adopt a dog do not realize that how it behaves in its enclosure is usually much different than how it acts once outside.

"The way the dog is when people walk by and see them in their kennels, is not how they are outside of the kennels. In the play yard, they are completely different. When you take them out for fostering, they are completely different," Lee explained.

Volunteers in the Adventure Tails program provide invaluable notes about how the dogs behave once they leave PRC and are in the real world. Supplying insight into a dog's personality and preferences increase its chances of being considered for adoption and finding a forever home.

Lee has a deep appreciation for the impact one Adventure Tails outing can have on a dog and how time outside the shelter helps animals decompress. She knows that a single outing can have a profound effect on a dog's psychological and physical well-being.

"I think my favorite thing about getting them out of the kennel for a few hours or for a day is that they're able to relax visibly," Lee said. "You get to see their personality more … their manners, how much they like people; you get a little glimpse of how they would be if they were adopted."

Strollin' on the Riverwalk one day, cuddles on another

So far, Lee has taken seven dogs out through the Adventure Tails program. Not all outings involve vigorous activities or high-energy excursions. Several months ago, Lee was paired with Tamale, a gentle, brindle-colored pit bull. Lee knew right away that Tamale was a cool cucumber and would be happy just hanging out. After Lee brought her home and gave the pittie a bath, Tamale promptly got cuddly and fell asleep. Lee pointed out that it was not uncommon for dogs to simply rest and relax on their Adventure Tails outing.

Another favorite dog she met through the program was Holmwood. Lee took Holmwood, an 8-year-old American Staffordshire terrier, out for a stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk. After taking in some sights and smells, the pair settled down outside a coffee shop for a rest. Lee enjoyed her latte while Holms basked in the sun. They both enjoyed a peaceful afternoon people-watching.

In addition to helping dogs get adopted and making a positive impact on their health, Lee appreciates the flexibility the Adventure Tails program offers. She wishes more people understood how easy and simple it is to spend time with an orphaned dog.

"Most people can do an Adventure Tails. Most people can do an afternoon or a day. Have your day outside but just pick up one of these dogs to spend the day with you. You know, if you're going to go to a park or do a hike, or if you're going to have lunch with friends, just have a dog go with you," Lee said.

Become an Adventure Tails foster

Participating in the Adventure Tails Program is an enriching and heartwarming experience for you and the dog you spend time with. If you are looking for a way to bring extra joy into your life while helping a pet in need, consider spending a few hours or the day with a pup. For more information, contact the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center at or call (813) 272-1157.

Image Caption: Grace Lee takes dogs on Adventure Tails outings through the Pet Resource Center.
Posted: 2/23/2024, 9:25:07 PM