Combine an animal rescue shelter full of restless dogs in southern California with a high school cross-country team winding down its summer training, and you get one obvious—and adorable—solution.
So obvious, in fact, that the same idea struck the wife of the St. Joseph High School cross country coach, Luis Escobar, and the volunteer coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, Stacy Silva.
“We have these kids who are finishing their summer workout program and we have all these dogs. So we got them together,” Luis Escobar told Runner’s World. He surprised 14 of his runners with the new training partners during a 1.5-mile easy run near the shelter.
“When the dogs realized they were going outside, they went crazy,” Escobar added.
Escobar, who is also a professional photographer, took a short video of the practice and posted it to social media. It quickly went viral.
“We just did it as a fun, interesting way to end the summer; it’s unreal how it’s resonated with people,” he said. “If even one dog gets adopted out of this, that would be fantastic.”
The star of the video comes near the end of the clip. A dog named Fred seems to have had enough of the run, forcing his training partner to carry him the rest of the way.
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“And Fred still has no home and is in the shelter,” Escobar said at the time of publication.
Escobar also said the unusual training session has inspired some of his runners to volunteer at the shelter, and he is already planning another visit with the cross-country team during the fall season.
“Maybe some other team somewhere else in the country will do the same thing,” he said.