Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Blog

Fitness Unleashed gives shelter dogs something to bark about

This blog was originally posted on July 21, 2015.

Dogs and WMU-Cooley faculty, staff and law students are teaming up with the Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center to hit the trails this summer for Fitness Unleashed, a cooperative program to help shelter dogs.

If you ask participants though, they not only love the idea of giving their shelter dog a much needed walk in the park, they also appreciate roaming the beautiful trails among the spacious 67 wooded acres on WMU-Cooley’s Auburn Hills campus.


“I was really impressed by how nicely the trails had been groomed,” exclaimed Cathy Oaten, faculty secretary at WMU-Cooley’s Auburn Hills campus. “Even the marshy areas had rocks placed so we could walk easily over them. Law students would pop up in various spots on the trails to help give us directions on the paths too. The dogs loved the time outdoors. My shelter dog, Nitro, was so excited, I could barely keep up with him!”

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Twice a month, on Wednesdays, the OCAC is on WMU-Cooley’s Auburn Hills campus with dogs that need to be walked.  Participants also admitted that it was a great way to get in some exercise and reduce stress.

“I participated in the Fitness Unleashed program and got to walk a dog named Diesel, a Lab/Great Dane mix,” shared WMU-Cooley law student James Langley. “Diesel really liked to run and take in all the smells on the nature trails.  We both got some exercise and had some fun with other students and dogs. It was a great way to step outside my daily routine and relieve some stress.  It was a great thing to do for some dogs that need some love!”

“I recently had the opportunity to participate in the new Fitness Unleashed program offered by WMU-Cooley,” said Sarah Gorski, a WMU-Cooley law student.  “The program provides many health benefits to the dogs as well as the students participating. Walking the dogs was not only a great cardiovascular exercise, it was also a powerful antidote to stress. Dogs are inherently active animals and the program provides an outlet for their energy. My experience with the program was wonderful and I would definitely recommend other students to participate in such a great cause.” 

View the WMU-Cooley Law School Viewbook

August 01