Boost Your Mood with a Puppy Play Date

Humane Society of Naples’ rescue recess program allows visitors to check dogs out of the shelter for a part-time play date.

Pet ownership can come with a host of health benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites research that shows that bonding with a pet can help increase fitness, lower stress, reduce blood pressure, and decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It’s also great for your mental health, with pet ownership lessening feelings of loneliness and leading to increased joy.

For those interested in canine companionship (and the benefits that come with it) without the full-time commitment, the Humane Society Naples offers a daily Rescue Recess. The program allows visitors to check dogs out of the shelter for two hours or longer depending on the time and day.

You can take a dog to various locations—HSN has plenty of ideas—or to your home to hang out. You’re not the only beneficiary, of course. Because the program gets dogs out of the shelter for an extended period of time, it helps the pooches eliminate extra energy and lower their stress hormones, too. “Even if it’s just taking a buddy home to watch Netflix, it’s a win-win for all involved,” says Jonathan Foerster, HSN’s director of community affairs.

The program is open to anyone 16 years of age or older with a valid driver’s license and a vehicle to transport the animal safely. HSN provides a leash, collar, water, dish, Frisbee, and balls, and all dogs are outfitted with an adopt-me vest. Participants are encouraged to share images of their adventures with #RescueRecess in order to help their friend find a “furever” home. And if you fall in love with your short-term companion, you can adopt it through the humane society.

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