Animal shelter lets Pokemon Go fanantics volunteer to walk dogs

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Thursday, July 14, 2016
Pokemon Dog Walking Volunteers
Pokemon Dog Walking Volunteers

MUNCIE, IN (KTRK) -- If you "gotta catch 'em all," now you can walk around with a dual purpose. An animal shelter in Muncie, Indiana is cashing in on the "Pokemon Go" craze by asking players to volunteer as dog walkers.

The Muncie Animal Shelter made the request for volunteers to walk dogs with a post on Facebook. In just 24 hours, the post was shared more than 22,000 times.

Phil Peckinpaugh, the director of the Muncie Animal Shelter, came up with the idea when he saw groups of people wandering around town playing the game. He also loves "Pokemon Go" and spent some time playing with his daughter.

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"The exercise and stimulation for the dogs is the first priority," Peckinpaugh told Buzzfeed. "If we can get volunteers and adoptions, that's been the number one goal. Always."

The initiative received tons of praise on social media and within an hour of launching the "Pokemon Go" dog walking program, dozens of people were lined up outside the shelter. Peckinpaugh said some people came to volunteer, but others wanted to learn more about adopting a pet.

"Kids, they love it," said Peckinpaugh. "There are people walking dogs, posting pics on their Instagrams and social media. That exposure for the dogs is really quite epic."

Dog walking volunteers do receive some training and the shelter is reminding all volunteers to put the dogs first.

"If you can't be responsible while playing the game, you're not the best fit," said Peckinpaugh. "We address the individuals and volunteers coming in to please be careful and please be safe. So far there haven't been any issues."

We have not heard of any animal shelters in Houston offering a similar program, but if you find one, let us know using #abc13eyewitness.