Welcome to Tails of the Trail. Our first rule is that you do not talk about Tails of the Trail outside of this group…just kidding! We want you to tell all your friends and family about us. The more people who know and come out to hike with a shelter dog, the more lives we can save! And please LIKE and Share our website to everyone you know:
That’s right, these events are about saving and enriching the lives of our shelter animals. Any animal kept in confinement for any length of time is at risk of developing behavioral changes. Sometimes these behavioral changes can result in the animal no longer being suitable for adoption due to lack of exercise, stimulus and socialization. By taking a few hours out of your day to take a dog on a beautiful hike you are providing all of this for these little guys in need. We can’t thank you enough and we are quite sure your hiking companions will also thank you with an abundance of doggie kisses and tail wags!
With all of this being said, we have some rules and guidelines for your safety and the safety of your canine companion. Please read thoroughly.
- Do not wear perfume on day of event as some dogs experience allergies and we want our special pups to have the best time ever! We also suggest you do not wear dangling earrings.
- Kindly download the “WoofTrax” app (aka Walk For a Dog) to your iphone, select the shelter hosting today’s event and remember to hit START when the hiking begins. This app will tally your mileage and ultimately send cash bonuses to the shelter on a quarterly basis. Nice to know we can be supporting our shelters financially just by walking and having fun!
- Sign your shelter’s Volunteer Release or Liability Waiver. You only need to do so on your first hike at each shelter event. You are now responsible for the safety and wellness of your shelter pup.
- Sign Discover Tennessee, Inc.’s Attendee Sign In Sheet w/liability waiver.
- Grab a bottle of water for your furry friend along with treats, water containers and doggie waste bags. Do attempt to “scoop the poop” if at all possible. Let’s leave our greenways/trails in great condition for the next visitor.
- Dogs must remain on leashes at all times! Be sure to put your hand through the leash loop and hold on firmly. Should your dog get loose, do not chase them!!! This will only spook the pup. Crouch down and calmly call the dog back to you. You are going to be the most familiar thing to them while out there and they will likely come back to you if you remain calm and do not chase. Please signal an Event Host on the trail with you or call the emergency number provided if you run in to this situation and need help.
- Never allow two dogs to come into contact with one another. You must keep a minimum of 5-8 feet between any two dogs at all times. Just like humans, some dogs simply don’t like each other. Additionally the shelter dogs are going to start out very excited so it is necessary that every dog be given some space. This spacing rule applies to non-shelter dogs that are out on the trail with their private owner. You may wish to step off the walkway to allow the non-shelter dog and companion to pass. DO feel free to identify yourself with the Tails of the Trail program and that you are hiking a shelter dog.
- Offer your hiking companion water every 15 minutes. When dogs are excited their temperature rises. Even on cool days dogs can easily overheat and/or dehydrate. Offer water frequently in bowls provided or improvise by rolling down an unused waste bag. If it holds water they will drink. Your Event Host may also have set up a midway watering station so do rest a minute there. And watch for signs of any ailment that might prohibit the dog from completing the walk comfortably. If your dog becomes tired, stop and rest or return to the shelter if you suspect illness.
- Hiking Hazards: 0ut on the trail these dogs are susceptible to all the same hazards as we are including steep incline/declines, sharp rocks, snakes/animals in the brush, poisonous plants, etc. Use caution and pay close attention to what your canine friend is getting into. Avoid allowing them to drink stream or lake water. Along with bacteria and microorganisms that may make them sick, there are also viruses spread by wildlife that can be contracted by drinking contaminated water.
- We will have trained volunteers out on the trail to help you if you have an emergency. This includes wounds, bites, limping, loose dogs, etc. If you can’t see one of us then call via the emergency phone number provided during the onsite orientation and we will get someone out there to help you.
- Remember your assigned dog’s name so you can complete the Post Hike Questionnaire at the end of the event. The more information a shelter can learn about the dog and its’ behavior with strangers the better they can train away any unacceptable actions or characteristics to ensure a proper match to a forever home.
- Lastly note that all children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult who holds the leash to the dog. No unaccompanied minor can participate in the event. Keep in mind that this age limit is subject to change per shelter policy.
So get out there and have fun while being a safe and responsible hiker!
And thank you again for making this a wonderful day for these wonderful dogs in need!