Marine Volunteer’s Heartwarming Initiative: Running with Shelter Dogs Goes Viral

by Lisa

A Marine volunteer dog trainer in North Carolina is gaining attention for his heartwarming initiative to take shelter dogs out for a run, aiming to promote their well-being and increase their chances of adoption.

Wesley Swainston, an active duty United States Marine Corps officer, has been capturing hearts on social media with his videos of running with shelter dogs. In a recent viral TikTok post shared under the username forthedogs_, Swainston can be seen arriving at a local shelter in Jacksonville and taking the eager pups out for a run.


Accompanied by a caption asking viewers if they would consider adopting the shelter dogs, the heartwarming footage showcases the pure joy and excitement of the dogs as they enjoy their time outdoors with Swainston.


Swainston, who also shares similar videos on Instagram, expressed his passion for running and his dedication to volunteering at the Adoption First Jacksonville NC shelter. He emphasized that his mission as a volunteer trainer is not just to train the dogs but to demonstrate their full potential to potential adopters.


According to Swainston, regular exercise is crucial for dogs’ physical and mental well-being, and running with shelter dogs not only benefits their health but also increases their chances of finding forever homes. He highlighted the importance of volunteers in providing exercise and enrichment for shelter dogs, especially since shelter employees may not always have the time to dedicate to these activities.


Swainston’s initiative has gained traction as part of a larger movement within the running community, which he described as strong and inclusive. He emphasized the transformative impact of exercise on the lives of shelter dogs and encouraged others to join in the effort to make a difference.

Among the dogs featured in Swainston’s videos are Cindy the hound and Hondo the Aussie, who are currently on adoption trials. However, there are still dogs like Pixie the mutt and Rooster the Aussie who are in need of loving homes.

While the amount of exercise needed varies depending on factors like age and breed, experts recommend that dogs should engage in at least 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day. Swainston’s videos not only showcase the joy of exercise for shelter dogs but also highlight the importance of promoting adoption and reducing euthanasia rates in shelters across the United States.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.3 million pets enter U.S. shelters each year, with around 920,000 surrendered animals euthanized annually. Shelters continue to implement adoption campaigns and other initiatives to minimize euthanasia rates and find loving homes for shelter animals.


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