Alachua County participates in the first ever National Dog Playgroup Rockstars Adoption Event

Press release from Alachua County

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla.  – On May 13, 2023, national nonprofit organization Petco Love joins forces with Dogs Playing for Life and BOBS from Skechers™ to launch a National Playgroup Rockstars Adoption event at more than 30 animal shelters around the country, including Alachua County Animal Resources, to showcase social adoptable dogs in a fun and playful environment.

Dogs Playing for Life created the unique playgroup shelter dog enrichment program operating with the simple philosophy of “Every Dog, Every Day, Let Them Play!” Their goal is to ensure shelter pets positively experience life at an animal shelter while providing shelter staff the information needed to help that pet find its new loving home. Playgroup Rockstars are dogs that are well-socialized and love to play with just about any dog playmate.

At the May 13 event, Alachua County Animal Resources will waive Playgroup Rockstars adoption fees and offer special Play Pair gifts for pet parents adopting two Rockstars. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Alachua County Animal Services Headquarters (5300 N.E. 53rd Avenue, Gainesville). The media is invited to attend and interview representatives from these organizations on-site about the unique event and partnership.

Most pet parents see pets as family and want to bring their pets with them where they go and incorporate them into their daily lives. This often means having social dogs is important to their pet adoption decision. There’s a reason it’s called the “dog pack” – dogs are social and energetic pets who thrive on companionship with other dogs. It is also true that a tired dog is often the most well-behaved dog. That’s why adopting a Playgroup Rockstars Dog Play Pair will help pet parents with both of their newly adopted dogs’ socialization, mental and physical stimulation, and overall health and well-being.

“We are very excited to be hosting this event with some incredible organizations and hope to see some of our ‘Rockstars’ find their new forever home,” said Alachua County Animal Services Director Julie Johnson. “Alachua County Animal Resources serves county residents as the municipal shelter for the entire County.”

“The first dog I had was an only child, so to keep him happy, we went on long walks morning and night. But still during the day he was home alone, and I always felt guilty working long hours,” said Petco Love President Susanne Kogut. “When he passed, I decided to adopt two large dogs because I thought they would have each other for company, and when I was busy, they could still get their exercise playing and running together in the yard. Adopting two play buddies was the best decision I ever made for the dogs and for me. Many people choose to adopt two kittens for the same reason, but we seem to approach dog adoption differently. Adopting a Play Pair, two Playgroup Rockstars, makes great sense.”

Aimee Sadler, the founder of Dogs Playing for Life, began developing the program in 1998 when she observed large dogs at shelters often never left their kennel due to staffing and volunteer limitations. As a dog trainer specializing in behavior issues, she sought to change all that by shifting the shelter paradigm to incorporate large-scale playgroups into everyday activities. Dogs Playing for Life trains shelter staff how to assess dogs properly to enable them to run large dog playgroups as a normal part of shelter life.

“When you see a bunch of shelter dogs all romping together and having fun versus frustrated being alone in a kennel, well, it is simply magical. These dog play groups allow dogs to be dogs and enjoy their day, despite the fact that, due to unfortunate circumstances, they landed in a shelter. Add on that the ability to showcase their beautiful and playful nature might be their ticket to a new loving home, I can’t help but believe we are making a difference by prioritizing a better experience for them while sheltered,” said Founder Aimee Sadler.

Dogs Playing for Life programming now takes place at more than 300 shelters across the U.S.

BOBS from Skechers is partnering with Petco Love and Dogs Playing for Life for this unique adoption event. “We know large dogs are currently the population most at risk in shelters across the country and need to find loving homes more than ever,” said Vice President-Corporate Communications of SKECHERS USA, Inc. Jenn Clay, “That’s why BOBS from Skechers is excited to highlight the benefits of adopting large dogs and play pairs through this special event and continue our ongoing mission to help shelter pets who need it most.”

The May 13th Playgroup Rockstars event is being held at more than 30 shelters and locations. A list can be found on PlaygroupRockstars.com. Most participating shelters will waive dog adoption fees for a Rockstar. For people who already have pets, the Playgroup Rockstars Adoption Event allows you to identify and see the dogs in action who might be the perfect match for your existing pet. For those considering adopting two dogs, the teams on the ground can help you find the perfect pair. Adopters of Play Pairs will also receive gift cards from Petco.