Mar 6, 2024 - Things to Do

Give Charlotte shelter dogs a break from the kennel with a daycation or staycation

daycation

One thing about Charlie? He isn't shy — both in personality and when it comes to selfies. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Meet Charlie. He's a three-year-old beagle mix and one of the dozens of dogs up for adoption at CMPD Animal Care & Control. I recently spent the day with Charlie through the AC&C's daycation program.

Why it matters: Local shelters are filled to the brim, and taking these dogs out of their kennels, whether it's for a few hours or a couple of days, frees up some space momentarily and eases the animal's stress.

How it works: The process is simple — visit the shelter (no appointment needed), fill out paperwork and walk through the kennels to find a dog you want to take. You can opt for either a daycation or a staycation.

  • Daycation: You take the dog between 11am-5pm on weekdays and 11am-3pm on weekends. You're provided with a dog leash that doubles as a collar and the rest is up to you.
  • Staycation: You keep the dog for up to five days. This is thought of as a "trial adoption" with no pressure to foster fail. You're given a leash that doubles as a collar and food if you request it.
  • Get all the details and requirements on both programs here.

Go deeper: 6 dog-friendly things to do in Charlotte

By the numbers: There are currently 152 dogs and puppies in the shelter, according to AC&C communications manager Melissa Knicely.

  • Additionally, 169 are in foster care and 27 are on staycation.
  • There's only one open kennel for adoptable dogs and four open kennels for lost dogs as of March 6.

Here's how Charlie and I spent the day together:

First, we took a walk on the rail trail in South End.

rail trail
Charlie was ultra curious about all of the sights and sounds along the route. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

After, we stopped for a water break and treat at Canine Cafe. I'm a big believer that dogs deserve sweet treats, too.

canine cafe
Canine Cafe off Remount is right next to Stable Hand. So after you grab a treat for them, you can make a coffee stop for yourself. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios
canoli
This cannoli made me a little jealous of Charlie. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Charlie was tired from his rail trail adventure, so he took a quick nap while I drove us to Renaissance Park to meet a couple of friends and their dogs.

charlie run
The park makes a great final stop because it's only a few minutes from the main shelter. Photo: McKenzie Rankin Axios
charlie pet
charlie
So many furry friends showed up to play, and I'm genuinely not sure who enjoyed it more — the dogs or the humans. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

My thought bubble: I had to return Charlie to the shelter by 5pm. It was hardly an easy goodbye, but I felt better knowing he went back full, happy and hopefully extra worn out.

If you go: Don't forget your ID. I also suggest having a crate in the car to help with transport (especially if you have a nervous or hyper dog). Treats help, too.

  • Be sure to ask for an "adopt me" bandana that your dog can wear when out in public.

Some popular spots to hit include breweries, the Whitewater Center, and greenways.

  • You aren't given the dog's medical paperwork, so don't expect to go to dog bars, like Skiptown or Lucky Dog, and go slowly when introducing your dog to social situations.

Stop by: All adoptable dogs at AC&C's two shelters are eligible for the Daycation and Staycation programs.

  • The main shelter is located at 8315 Byrum Dr., near the airport. The satellite shelter is at 2700 Toomey Ave., off Remount Road in Southside Park.
  • Search all of AC&C's adoptable dogs here — each profile will list where the dogs are located.
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