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Natural Awakenings Richmond

New Outdoor Doggie Playgroups at Richmond Animal League

Richmond Animal League (RAL) introduced new doggie playgroup yards in September, designed with input from nonprofit Dogs Playing for Life to enhance the quality of life of shelter dogs. There is a big area with a smaller area connected by large gates to make one huge play yard if desired. Lesley Gurule, of Canine Communication RVA, provided expert guidance to make sure playgroups are conducted in the safest and best way for the dogs. 

Shelter life can be very stressful for dogs with all of the sounds, smells, strangers and isolation. RAL’s play yards create more opportunities for staff and volunteers to get the dogs out of their kennels so they can have more opportunities for off-leash outdoor enrichment. While the dogs are still taken on leashed walks and there is a small play yard behind the shelter, the new larger play yards were designed for playgroups and provide areas for the dogs to run off-leash and explore. 

The 2023 RAL Pet Calendar is a fun way to support RAL’s mission. For more information about donating, volunteering, fostering and adopting, visit

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