Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Paws in the Park
We didn't get to write about Paws in the Park last week, but Mom wanted to make sure she posted this week. It rained the whole time we were there, but we finished the walk and we visited all the vendors while we were there. The weather wasn't great for pictures, but Mom had to get one of the Dachshund Kissing Booth fundraiser.
Katy reached another level of achievement at this walk. Each year she's shown more independence and boldness. The first year she went she spent the whole walk tucked into Bailey's side for protection. Each year she's gotten a bit bolder, heading out at the head of the pack sometimes at a run, but then about half way through she suddenly seems to realize she's not with Bailey and drops back to finish the walk at a more leisurely pace.
This year despite the cold wet weather she headed out with one of her favorite extended family members at a run. They paused at the halfway mark where we normally take pictures, but the weather was too wet and dreary for pictures so we encouraged them to keep going. Katy quickly took the lead and for the first time crossed the end line first without Bailey at her side. This is just a charity walk not designed to be a race or a run, but for Katy she's had this desire to get there first for some time. She and her handler have been in discussions for training and strategies for the longer Whisker Walk coming in June. It is a longer walk and she will have to see if she has the stamina to stay at the head of the pack for the entire walk.
Bailey struggled with the cold and we've decided Mom will sit out the longer walk with him as he's taking it slower these days. On the upside, Dog Dad located a massage therapist at the fair that might work for helping Bailey with some of his challenges. We also found a bone vendor and got some awesome bully sticks to take home.
For the first time ever we met a family of Shelties. The tiny puppy almost made Mom rethink her ideas on getting a dog past those puppy years. He was one giant fur ball and oh so cute. This family had a collection of Sheltie colors, which again you don't see often.
One thing I felt bad about was every where we went when someone had a Purebred dog they felt the need to whisper that they went to a breeder to get the dog, as if it was a crime. One of the woman,a breed foster Mom felt the need to explain she has things she wants to train her dogs to do and prefers to choose them as pups for specific characteristics and then raise them to ensure she gets the behaviors she wants. I told her she should feel no compulsion to apologize. She clearly isn't using a puppy mill to get the quality of dogs she wants. She gives back to the community by fostering and volunteering to stand in the freezing rain to help these animals find homes with people like myself that may be OK not starting with a puppy. She looked amazed. I suspect she doesn't hear that often.
I love these events because they are great ways to spend time meeting other dog owners. As I said I rarely meet other Sheltie owners except at events like these. It is always fun. At this event I tried to connect a breed rescue with a dog blogger that I thought would be a good match. The rescue representative sounded interested in linking to the site to provide more information to people who want to adopt large breed dogs. It is a great way to meet local shelters and rescues. I was disappointed that the local Collie rescue wasn't present this year as I was tempted to talk to them to see if they have any ideas about what to do with the Bailey and Katy situation. Sadly, they didn't have a table this year and I don't see them listed yet for the Whisker Walk either. However, despite the rain there were lots of people at the shelter/rescue tables making connections and that is how we can promote rescue.
That being said one of the disappointments I had was the anti-puppy mill group focused on ending puppy mills which is great, but the focus is still on shaming those who don't go to shelters. I just can't support that attitude. I am for ending puppy mills. However, the best way to end them is to teach people about all their responsible choices, not just your preferred choice. There is a disconnect between reality and dreams. In the dream world everyone would find their ideal dog at the local shelter and there would be no homeless dogs. In the real world people have lots of reasons why they want a purebred dog from a breeder. That is for another article on another day.