The Walk

This past Sunday I took part in what I’m sure is becoming a yearly tradition for me. It’s a walk to raise money for a local charity, which is normal enough, but the fun twist is that it’s a walk for dogs. The Wiggle Waggle Walkathon raises money for the Ottawa Humane Society, a charity I strongly believe in.

Dogs + walkathon = a match made in heaven! What kind of dog doesn’t like a walk? Answer: my friend’s Chihuahuas -but they are pretty much squirrels with pink rhinestone collars, they don’t count. All real dogs love to walk, and it seems very fitting that they all go out together and stroll for funds and awareness for their less fortunate fellows in the Animal Kingdom. Of course we can’t let the dogs walk themselves (who would put the poop in little baggies?); so there are almost as many human walkers that take part in the event also -that’s right, dogs outnumber people.

This is the second year that I have been one of those walkers, and since my canine escort turned 77 this year (you do the math) we only did the 2 km route of the walk. When I was 13 I saved all my babysitting and birthday money and bought an adorable Shih Tzu puppy who I named Zeus. I was so happy to have the little fuzzball all to myself but no matter how much love and attention I gave to Zeus, he much preferred my mom. Therefore Zeus stayed with my parents when I moved out and I had to borrow my own dog for the walk, on top of having to drive an hour to pick him up at the cottage where he was vacationing. He got pretty upset as we were driving away and he realised that mom wasn’t in the car with us, but he eventually came around to the idea of spending time with me. I did choose him from a litter of puppies, feed him, groom him, train him, and play with him all those years after all. Once we got the walk site I’m pretty pleased to say that even mom was banished from Zeus’s mind.

There were so many dogs, so many, so many, so many dogs. Big dogs, small dogs, young dogs, old dogs, fat dogs -happily there were no skinny dogs. There were Chihuahuas is strollers, dogs with blue hair, dogs with pink hats, dogs in sweaters and leather jackets, there was even a pony just to add confusion. There were a lot of people there too I supposed, but I didn’t notice any of them; my eyes were trained down the entire day. Zeus, polite boy that I raised, made it his personal mission to say hello to everyone. Given the particular way dogs say hello, I tried to mitigate this with some of the activities available. Zeus and I got our picture taken together and we did paw print painting; we watched other dogs conquer the obstacle course and play in the kiddie pools.

The event was very successful and raised $240 000 for Ottawa’s animals in need. Zeus had a great time at the event, and enjoyed his walk. I had fun seeing all the different breeds of dogs and watching Zeus interacting with him. He’s so grown up, but in my eye I will always see that little puppy I got years ago. Zeus surprised me; he constantly wanted us to get in front of everyone during the walk, like he was trying to lead the pack. Forget that there are thousands of walkers and that you are a 17lb Shih Tzu in your golden years. Go ahead; pass the Doberman, the Mayor of Ottawa, the pony, that freakishly large dog that is somehow bigger than the pony. I guess Zeus rules the roost at home; I’ll have a little chat with mom about that, she watches Ceser Milan -she should know better.

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