The City of Winnipeg Animal Services has started a new program where people can have a 'Doggie Date' with no commitment. 

"We're experiencing a very high level of dogs coming into our facility," says Leland Gordon, General Manager with the City of Winnipeg in the Animal Services department. "This is happening all across Canada, especially after the pandemic where some people are trying to get rid of their dogs."

Winnipeg Animal Services has created a fun way for people to connect with some of these dogs. 

"We have a happy and fun program called our 'Doggie Dates' program. People can check out a dog like a library book and there's no commitment. Some people participating in this program just want to help a dog in an animal shelter. They don't want to adopt a dog but they want to help."

Others have found that 'Doggie Dates' are a great way to see if adopting a certain dog is the right fit for their family.

"The dog leaves animal services wearing an 'Adopt Me' vest with a pet licence, and then you can take these dogs for a day, a weekend, or up to a week. You can take the dogs to the Forks or to parks. You can even take the dogs to Kildonan Place Mall and Grant Park Mall as we have an agreement with them. You try and help get the dogs adopted."

It not only helps the dogs looking for a permanent home, but it also helps people participating as well, according to Gordon. 

"It's great for residents because it helps improve health and wellness. It helps our dogs by getting them more socialized in our community."

Animal Services is also looking for people open to fostering some of the more challenging dogs that need more care and attention. 

"The easiest thing for us is to come down to Animal Services at 1057 Logan," when it comes to setting up a 'Doggie Date.' "We're open seven days a week."

After people have taken a dog on a walk or for the weekend, they can post about it on social media to help other people interested in adopting a dog. 

"When you're ready to get your next dog or cat, really go ahead and try and adopt," says Gordon. "We need people to think long and hard, can you take care of yourself and do you have the financial resources to take care of a dog? If you do, you need to make a life-long commitment to that dog."