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    It’s the dog days of summer — literally. Around lunchtime on Wednesdays, Humana employees can be found out in the streets of downtown Louisville accompanied by an adoptable dog from the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

    This is Humana’s Walk and Wag, a volunteer initiative that gets Humana workers exercise and shelter dogs that plus so much more.

    J.B. Ogle provides animal shelter services to all of Clark County in Indiana, which includes 26 towns and cities. But they still struggle with exposure, says operations coordinator Kristie Ashcraft. “A lot of people don’t even know we’re here.” 

    This is where Humana can help. During the summer, Humana employees can volunteer on a week-by-week basis to walk J.B. Ogle’s dogs through the streets of downtown, the dogs wearing orange vests that say “Adopt me.”

    Humana employees hand out flyers with more information on the dog and the shelter. The flyers start off with a take on a catchy pop song: "Hey, I just met you / and this is crazy / but here's my number / so adopt me maybe." 

    A lot of the times, the dogs who find families because of this initiative are adopted by Humana employees people they know.

    “They get so excited about the dogs there,” Ashcraft says. “They’ll share pictures on Facebook, and their friends and family will see it.”

    Sherry Brown and Donna Fultz are two Humana employees walking on a cloudy and humid Wednesday afternoon. They’re with Puppy, a 6-year-old cattle dog mix.

    “I love animals" says Brown. “There’s been a lot of dogs that if I could’ve taken them home, I would have.” She currently has two dogs.

    People walking past Puppy have smiles on their face that show their inner dog lover begging to come out. Brown and Fultz encourage passersby to stop and pet Puppy and take a flyer.

    According to Lisa Canter, the Humana employee in charge of organizing Walk and Wag within the organization, 20 dogs have been adopted through the program over four summers — employees previously walked with dogs from the Metro Animal Shelter.

    Ashcraft estimated that six dogs were adopted from the shelter last year through Walk and Wag and at least four have been adopted this summer.

    “Usually, people think [shelter animals] are unwanted or have issues. That’s farthest from the truth,” Ashcraft stresses. “They are some of the best, well-behaved dogs.”

    The dogs are able to get pets from the many people wandering downtown during lunch hour, but there’s benefits for the employees, too. “They get out from behind their desk. It’s such a win-win,” says Canter.

    Through the Humana Vitality program, Humana employees earn points for getting in a certain about of steps each day on their pedometer and these points can be cashed in for prizes.

     

    To find more information about adopting an animal from J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter, including Puppy, click here.

    Margo Morton's picture

    About Margo Morton

    Ball State journalism and sociology student. Born and raised in Louisville and wouldn't have it any other way.

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