Animal Care Sanctuary’s (ACS) alternative housing program pairs dogs with behavioral difficulties that may decrease their adoptability, with college-level pre-veterinary or animal science interns in onsite housing. 

Since the inception of the internship program in 2014, ACS has hosted 33 interns from well-known universities across the United States.  ACS intern alumni have attended New York University, Purdue, Notre Dame, Penn State University as well as students from two of the top veterinary schools: Cornell University and the University of Minnesota. 

Behavior issues in dogs are common in the shelter environment, and resolving the issue often requires consistent training with the guidance of a trainer or behaviorist.  Since we have a low number of foster families, utilizing interns was the best solution! 

Within a homelike environment, with their dedicated person (intern), dogs undergo individually tailored behavior-modification training regimes.  The intent is to decrease their stress while increasing their behavior modification training to prepare for adoption.  According to Emily Watson of Animal Wellness magazine, “Combined with quality care, positive training programs for shelter dogs can help increase adoption rates and ensure successful integration into forever homes.”

Dogs in this program typically had a very long length of stay (three years being the longest) and a limited chance of being adopted due to challenging behaviors ranging from fear of strangers to dog aggression.   After spending three months in a homelike environment with round the clock training they were an adoption success.   To date, the program has a 96 percent success rate, with 27 of its 28 dogs now in new homes. 

Although, some of the dogs in the program have been quite challenging, having an alternative housing dog remains one of the highlights of this internship.   Zoe P. from Unity College says that “I loved the idea of getting to spend individual time with a specific dog at the sanctuary to help with training and increase their potential for adoption.  Cooper improved so much by the time he was adopted.  Even just living in the home with me helped him gain trust and confidence in himself to meet new people.”

Interns actively market their Alternative Housing dogs to ensure adoption is a priority.  Interns act as their dogs’ ambassador when showing them to potential adopters.  Interns then serve help the dog transition into its new home by providing their forever family with advice on how to continue their training for a long lasting relationship built on trust resulting in a forever home. 


Upcoming Events

Mar 20 @ 5:30 pm
5:30 pm
On the third Wednesday of every month we hold Cat Yoga! With a yoga mat and a $5 donation, you can enjoy a double dose of relaxation at our East Smithfield Adoption Center at 353[...]
Animal Care Sanctuary East Smithfield
Apr 13 all-day
12:00 am
Visit Animal Care Sanctuary! Other details TBA
12:00 pm
This class teaches your dog how to walk nicely on a leash, sit on command, accept a stranger, to be calm while petting and grooming, walking through crowds, and a reliable recall. Once your dog[...]
Animal Care Sanctuary East Smithfield
Apr 13 @ 1:00 pm
1:00 pm
Listen to great music while supporting local animal shelters and rescues!  Animal Care Sanctuary is one of the shelters to benefit from the event!  We will also be there selling ACS apparel & other goodies[...]
Endwell Greens Golf Club and Event Center
Apr 17 @ 5:30 pm
5:30 pm
On the third Wednesday of every month we hold Cat Yoga! With a yoga mat and a $5 donation, you can enjoy a double dose of relaxation at our East Smithfield Adoption Center at 353[...]
Animal Care Sanctuary East Smithfield

Save A Life

ACS needs your help to save more lives! Together we can make a difference.

The AnimalCare Sanctuary is a platinum-level GuideStar participant, demonstrating commitment to transparency.
The Animal Care Sanctuary has received GuideStar's platinum-level rating, for the highest level of transparency.


Sign up to receive emails from Animal Care Sanctuary, full of compelling animal stories and news

Visit ACS East Smithfield

Animal Care Sanctuary

GPS Location (No Mail):
353 Sanctuary Hill Ln,
East Smithfield, PA 18817
Mailing Address:
East Smithfield, PA 18817
Phone: 570-596-2200
Fax: 570-596-2222

Adoption Hours

Monday: Closed
Tue-Sun: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Veterinary Clinic Hours

Monday through Friday:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
by appointment only
Clinic Phone: 570-596-2270

Visit ACS Wellsboro

ACS Wellsboro

11765 US-6,
Wellsboro, PA 16901
Phone: 570-724-3687
Fax: 570-724-8116

Adoption Hours

Tuesday - Sunday: Noon - 4:00 pm

Veterinary Clinic Hours

Tuesday: 8:30am - 4:00pm
by appointment only
Clinic Phone: 570-724-3687

Animal Surrender

Dog Surrender & Behavioral Questions
570-596-2200  Option 6

Cat Surrender
570-596-2200 Option 5

Visit Online Pharmacy