Letter From The President

Summer into Fall is beautiful in our area and if you’re spending allot of time outdoors with the many festivals going on, please stop by The Play Yard at Rochester Animal Services. Located next to Brown Square Park, The Play Yard is a wonderful place to be reminded of the happiness of pets.  Seeing dogs romp, scoot, tumble, roll and chase is a joyous way to spend a Saturday morning coffee break. It reminds each of us that we need not lose the play in our day or the chance to connect with simple fun.
Along with the many positive attributes that it promotes with us as observers, its benefits to the temporary residents of the shelter are the reason it exists in the first place. Here are some of the key attributes of this transformative program from, as well as benefits for the shelter itself:

  • Shelter dogs get the chance to burn off energy and counteract the stresses of shelter life.
  • Exercise can make dogs more relaxed and better behaved in their kennels and when meeting potential adopters.
  • Shelters dogs will learn critical dog-to-dog social skills, can help them post-adoption in developing positive relationships with dogs outside of the shelter.
  • By observing a dog’s state of play and social skills off the leash, shelter staff will gain a better understanding of each dog as an individual. Including its behavior in non-threatening situations. This information can be used to make better decisions about animal outcomes and potential adoption matches.
  • Play groups give shelter dogs an opportunity to relieve themselves outside the building – which means less for staff to clean and disinfect inside the kennels.
  • Kennel cleaning staff can work more efficiently when shelter dogs are in play groups outside of their kennels. Interestingly, kennel cleanliness has been identified by researchers as one important factor that influences a potential adopter’s view of the animal and likelihood to adopt.
  • Conversely, forcing a dog to live and eat where they defecate only increases the emotional stress and anxiety for that dog.

If you are interested in volunteering in The Play Yard, please email our portal at

If you would rather volunteer on a more one on one basis, perhaps fostering might be for you. We are always looking for fosters that want to help our residents develop lifelong skills for a successful placement. If fostering interests you, please complete our online application at

Go find your smile this season and PLAY!!!

Jennifer Brown
President, VSAS