Olde Towne Dogge’s Walked!
So what happens when you combine the backdrop of historic Old Town Virginia on an overcast, but semi-dry Sunday morning with the sights and sounds of hundreds of dogs and their human companions? The Olde Towne Dogge Walke of course!
There was a slight chill in the air as faithful dog-lovers – and supporters of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) converged on Market Square on King Street, from all corners, on Sunday, September 25. By 9:00 am dog owners and spectators had filled the brick-lined square and were milling about catching up with old friends, neighbors, acquaintances and new best friends, and talking about the day, dog stories and the anticipation of the walk ahead.
As one early arrival to Market Square Shari Bolouri explained, “It is a great way to have fun with your dog, socialize with other dog owners, and make new friends at the same time.” Shari is a supporter of The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria and has been helping the shelter in various ways over the past year, including working on the production of the annual Mardi Growl fundraiser, held at Reagan National Airport every March.
She had arrived with her cute, pure white Pomeranian, named Pomeroy and shared her story – one which just goes to prove that life takes us in many directions, some of which leave us immeasurably better off.
Shari went on to say that Pomeroy’s early years were very difficult. He had been a puppy mill dog who had spent the first seven years of his life in a cage, until one day in 2006 he was rescued by the Humane Education Society of Tennessee. At the time of his rescue Pomeroy’s teeth were so caked with tartar that he couldn’t even close his mouth. On top of that he was soaked in urine to the bone. But for Pomeroy this would not be his fate.
The Humane Education Society then sent Pomeroy to a Forever Home in Chantilly, Virginia and they in turn listed his picture on Petfinders, through the Northern Virginia branch of the SPCA.
At the same time, Shari had been searching for a rescue dog to adopt and she had a preference for Pomeranians. One day a friend of hers spotted a cute white Pomeranian on the Petfinders website, and emailed the link to Shari. Shari explains, “I thought he was adorable and I instantly fell in love with him. Within two weeks I was able to adopt him”. At that point both Pomeroy’s and Shari’s lives were forever changed.
She added, “Although he was very nervous his first day, within 24 hours he had bonded with me and had begun guarding ‘his’ home, barking whenever someone strange approached”. These days Pomeroy is living the life of a king with routine, morning belly-rubs and much love and attention.
After some brief remarks by Alexandria’s Town Crier, and Mary Beth Mount, the Executive Director of AWLA, the procession was ready to begin. So by 9:15 everyone was wending their way through the streets of Old Town and down to Founders Park by the banks of the Potomac River. And, not one tree or fire hydrant was left un-sniffed along the way!
From the sound of people talking with one another and dogs greeting their fellow canines it appeared as though everyone was having a great time. The procession stretched for several hundreds yards at one point with a seemingly endless sea of dog walkers. Next, it was across the boardwalks passing by the Torpedo Factory, home to artists galleries and shops. This being a favorite spot of many locals and tourists to take in the views of the Potomac, the Wilson bridge and moored yachts, some dog walkers congregated to speak to passersby, take photos and chat with others.
From there the Walke wended on down by the restaurants, businesses and homes of Union Street with many spectators taking to vantage points along the way to wave and greet the participants. After nearly a mile and a half of walking, everyone ended up back at Market Square.
This year’s Olde Towne Dogge Walke proved to be an overwhelming success with over $37,000. raised to help homeless animals at the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter.
Sponsors who helped support this year’s event included:
Presenting Sponsors: VCA Animal Hospitals, Greenleaf Health, LLC, Virtue Feed and Grain and the AWLA Board of Directors
Leader of the Pack Sponsors: Dogtopia and Cardio Canine, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub, O’Connell’s Restaurant and Bar, Best Impressions Printing and the Old Town Crier
Alpha Dog Sponsors: Fur-Get-Me-Not, Time for a Walk and Founders Dog Park
Every year The Olde Towne Dogge Walke is held as a fun way for animal lovers to support the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. You can become involved, either as a participant or supporter, to help the AWLA provide care and love to the thousands of animals who enter their doors every year. For more information visit their website at…
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