Through the continuing partnership between the Greenville Police Department and the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina, the K9 for a Day program recently featured Trumpet, a six-month-old bloodhound puppy.
Public Information Officer for GPD, Kristen Hunter, said the K9 for a Day initiative is a program sponsored by both organizations to promote the adoption of shelter animals.
Hunter said the concept originated earlier this year after seeing other police departments throughout the country adopt similar programs. Hunter said the program officially launched last April.
“Overall, the whole goal of the program is to give exposure to shelter animals who may not otherwise be seen,” Hunter said.
Each month, Hunter said a pair of officers is chosen to accompany a locally chosen shelter dog on a ride along throughout the community of Greenville for a day. She said the K9s get to visit various public places such as local businesses, East Carolina University’s campus and city hall.
“Trumpet got to see a little bit of everywhere in Greenville,” Hunter said. “We gave him (Trumpet) the chance to track one of the officers, took him to a local pet store, Pet Supplies Plus and got him some toys and treats.”
According to Hunter, there is a certain stigma surrounding shelters which causes people to avoid them. She said many shelters are deemed as a “sad place.”
Hunter said shelters throughout the entire country are currently overcrowded, and this in turn leaves an extensive amount of shelter animals waiting to find their forever homes.
“Finding them a home is one of our missions,” Hunter said. “These animals that have so much love to give and are in need of a much deserving home.”
Hunter said the more exposure GPD can give to the shelter animals, the better. She said it’s rewarding to witness these animals find homes and have “a happy ending” after the adoption process.
According to Hunter, with this program GPD is able to connect with the animals, animal lovers and animal advocates of the community.
“By bringing exposure to the wonderful shelter animals locally here in Greenville we are working to hopefully find them their forever homes,” Hunter said.
According to Hunter, the program is not limited to getting out and meeting people in the community, but is about social media engagement as well.
She said the police department posts throughout the day on various media platforms whenever a ride along occurs to draw attention to the dogs.
“We get a big response from that,” Hunter said.
According to the GPD’s Instagram account, they post photos and videos which are available to the public for viewing. The GPD Instagram account uses captions such as, “Trumpet has stolen our hearts and he’s sure to steal yours too!” and the “#AdoptDontShop” hashtag.
Hunter said GPD hopes it will be able to begin a trend and see more police departments creating their own similar initiatives in the future.
Trumpet was up for adoption by “application only” according to the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina’s assistant director, Shelby Jolly, who was at the shelter last weekend.
Jolly said every single dog who has been featured as the K9 for a Day by GPD was adopted following the exposure given to the shelter through the initiative.
“Most of them are adopted the first weekend after being featured as the K9 cop for a day. It definitely gives them added exposure,” Jolly said. “It’s not only a positive for the shelter but the animals themselves individually.”
According to Jolly, a dog may be selected if they have remained at the shelter for a period of time without peaking a lot of interest. She said the HSE Carolina may choose a K9 for a Day candidate who maybe has been “overlooked” since there is a great deal of exposure through the program.
According to Jolly, an adopted animal has so much to give no matter what they go through. She said some shelter dogs have had harder lives than others, but no matter what, it shows how “loving and forgiving” animals are.
“We know that the right person is out there for every dog, and they just need to see that dog to fall in love with them,” Jolly said.