Help A Rescue Dog While You Catch Pokémon?

Rescue Kilo the Pug out on a walk, poses for Shelter dogs and Pokémon Go Photo


At Talent Hounds, we have a #RescuesRock campaign to promote shelter dogs, volunteers and adoption. We did a TV series and we regularly feature uplifting happy tails, adoptable dogs,  and cool ways to fundraise or build awareness through ads, posts, videos, live events and programs. I myself fostered Kilo the Pug and have now adopted him. Several other team members have also adopted or volunteer regularly.

We read about an Animal Shelter renting out dogs so people could have a companion while they played Pokémon Go. We were intrigued as it sounded like they raised money, exercised and socialised shelter dogs and promoted adoptions. We wanted to know more.

We asked is it OK to “borrow” or “rent” a dog from a shelter for personal gain?

People playing Pokémon Go can apparently play discreetly and look cool under the guise that they are walking their dog.

Pippy Love Feature Film Premise

We were even more interested in the Shelter Dog Walk Program because of our new project we are just in the process of financing – a romantic comedy called Pippy Love“. The script is really fun with some great twists and surprises, as well as romance and puppies. We  incorporated a rescue puppy “Pippy” as our star who plays cupid to our young romantic protagonists Anna and Brad. Anna’s younger sister Emma volunteers at a shelter and can’t resist bringing Pippy home. Chaos ensues as Pippy is not trained or socialized yet.


There is also quite a mystery around a young entrepreneur Nigel who rents dogs out to people who want a walking companion or to pick up dates at the dog park.

We found an American Kennel Club study confirming that dogs can be magnets for mates. According to the study, 46% of women said they’d stop and talk to anyone with a cute puppy, and 58% of men said a puppy was a “foolproof babe magnet.”In Pippy Love, our main protagonist rents a dog and ends up finding love and helping a rescue.

So maybe you could catch a Pokélove as well as a Pokémon while on a walk!

A Shelter in Indiana is Using the Pokémon Go Craze to Encourage Volunteering

There’s no doubt that the craze to “catch them all” is infectious. Pokémon Go has taken the gaming world by storm.

The Muncie Animal Shelter, is responsible for the successful Pokemon Go Dog Walking initiative, that pairs players with shelter dogs. This shelter in Indiana has found a way of capitalising to help their dogs.


The ad on the shelter’s Facebook page above, which has already been shared over 28k times, reads:

“Trying to hatch an egg or catch rare Pokémon ? Come on down to the Muncie Animal Shelter to walk one of our dogs while you get your steps in! Just come to the front desk and say you are here for the Pokémon dogs!”

Volunteers can visit the shelter to borrow a dog while they play. Contrary to some social media posts we saw, there is no rental fee (although maybe that would be an idea?).


Phil Peckinpaugh, director of the shelter, and Sam Wiser, an intern at the mayor’s office, are reported to have created this innovative initiative at Muncie Animal Shelter. One of the games main features is it’s interactive mobile interface that is triggered by walking and they saw the potential to harness that and use it to help dogs in need.

Rescue Dog Kilo the Pug looking up while playing pokemon Go

Rescue Dog Kilo the Pug plays Pokemon Go

While initial reports of a mass clearing of the shelter through adoptions and massive fundraising may have been exaggerated, they have certainly built awareness and improved the chances of many dogs at finding a forever home.

We love that the dogs get exercise and some much-needed socialisation from volunteers eagerly looking to walk a dog while they play. Plus the exposure of the dogs from people posting online is amazing for helping the dogs get adopted and promoting rescues and volunteering.

Read: Why Socializing Your Puppy Is So Important

So if you’re a fan of Pokémon Go and you’re in the Muncie area then head on down to the animal shelter and take a rescue dog to walk!

kilo in his pokemon gear

We feel that both the people and the dogs can benefit from programs like these that let you borrow a dog to walk or babysit as long as they are well managed. Both the dogs and people should be vetted to make sure they are suited and there should be strict rules to ensure the safety of all involved (we wouldn’t want “distracted walking” accidents or overheating or reactivity etc).

Read: Fundraising for Animal Rescues and Shelters

It seems that the program could provide socialisation and exercise, as well as help destigmatize rescues and promote volunteerism and adoption. As long as all parties are safe and happy, it’s a win for both the volunteers who get to spend time with the dogs walking and for the dogs who get some extra attention and exercise. We played with Kilo today, and all of us had a fun time out there! He looks like a little “Pugemon” LOL.

kilo tongue out pokemon go

What do you think about the Pokémon Go Dog Walking Program? Do you know of any other interesting initiatives for Shelter Dogs? Tell us in the comments below!


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1 Comment

  • Angie Blumhorst 1 year ago

    Told our dog trainer about this and she asked me to get her some info. She is involved in many, many pet organizations.Cathy is thinking this will be great for WAGS. Can you provide any info on getting this great service started in Missouri?