Dog Playgroups



  • Animal Services recognized the need to provide its shelter dogs with exercise and socialization as part of the Shelter Enrichment Program.
  • Beginning in 2007, Animal Services began exploring opportunities to establish a play area for dogs. In 2012, Kodak and the City established a site access agreement for use of a vacant property on Brown Street to exercise and socialize shelter dogs.
  • The City installed snow fencing and Animal Services began using the area in a limited capacity with dogs on long lines.

Support from our PartnersBrooklyn

  • In March 2013, Animal Services brought Animal Farm Foundation representatives to Rochester for a full-day seminar on adoptions, behavior assessment, and kennel enrichment. 
  • The Animal Farm Foundation’s grant coordinator encouraged the Verona Street Animal Society (VSAS) to apply for funding to install a more appropriately fenced area.
  • VSAS submitted the request, the grant was awarded, and the fence was installed in mid-August 2013.
  • In late August, Aimee Sadler presented her 3-day Dogs Playing for Life™(DPFL) workshop, which was also made possible by VSAS with funds obtained from Animal Farm Foundation.
  • RAS immediately began implementing playgroups 2-3 days per week and led by volunteers.
  • In July 2017, after obtaining additional DPFL™ training for staff and volunteers and making adjustments to the work schedule, Animal Services increased the frequency of playgroups so that it is nearly a daily activity. 


  • Dogs are better socialized, obtaining more exercise, and appear less stressed and visibly “happier.”
  • Playgroups are the best way for shelter dogs to experience enrichment and to socialize.
  • Socialization for shelter dogs is essential for the dogs' physical and mental well-being and results in sending more dogs home faster.


Pets and Animals