DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Animal Shelter has a new play yard for pups in their care to gallivant outside thanks to Hugo, a Havanese dog adopted from the Denver Animal Shelter.

Hugo’s owner donated $12,000 in honor of their rescue dog to fund the enclosure.

To thank Hugo and his owner, the area will be known as Hugo’s Yard.

Letting dogs play can also help with adoption since it socializes them with other dogs and humans. Shelter staff will also be able to learn more about adoptable dogs in the play yard, gauging their behavior to best match them to potential homes.

“Pets at Denver Animal Shelter get amazing care while they wait for their forever homes,” said Bob McDonald, Denver Department of Public Health & Environment executive director. DDPHE oversees the shelter.

“This new space provides more opportunity for shelter dogs to play outside in the fresh air which is important for their health and well-being,” said McDonald.

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston also celebrated the new yard.

“As Denver’s only full-service, open-admission shelter, Denver Animal Shelter does the vital work of providing care for our city’s neediest animals,” said Johnston in a release. “I’m thrilled this new play yard will provide dogs with more enrichment and socialization opportunities, leading to more adoptable pets to join the homes of Denverites.”

In 2024, 30 members of the shelter’s staff and volunteers will spend eight weeks with the Shelter Playgroup Alliance to learn about animal behavior, enrichment and managing safe dog playgroups. The training is paid through a Petco grant.

This play yard will help the shelter place more vulnerable animals into their forever homes faster.

“A happy dog connects better with potential adopters and makes the transition from shelter to home smoother,” the shelter stated in a release.

The Denver Animal Shelter has many animals available to adopt, including over 50 dogs, 25 cats and about a dozen “other” animals, which include fish, rabbits and lizards. All dogs and cats have a $50 adoption fee during November, which includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and a 1-year pet license.