By Christi Nichols
On September 24, 2011, some five thousand people came out with their pets to celebrate the ninth annual My Dog Loves Central Park event put on by Central Park PAWS in association with the Central Park Conservancy.
The dogs were happy just hanging out in the park, smelling pee, and getting pushed in strollers.
But the humans put together all sorts of activities, nevertheless.
Dogs and their owners ran through a canine maze to see who could get the fastest time. Then they played music chairs. This involved walking with their owners around the chairs and following a command given by the announcer when the music stopped. No one could run for a seat until the dog followed the command.
On the main stage they had numerous contests. There was the prize for The Biggest Lap Dog.
and The Best Look Alike.
Also The Silliest Dog Trick. That category was won by a puggle named Bernanke. Yes, Bernanke.
Bernanke could hop on his hind legs and dance around in a circle. Jake said Bernanke started doing this on his own when a vendor would give him pieces of chicken.
The next day, some of those same pups could be found at Strut Your Mutt an event on Pier 84 held to raise money for homeless animals across the country. Best Friends Animal Society and No More Homeless Pets Partners organized the fundraiser.
Jamie Aalen, a Project Specialist from Best Friends said that almost $140,000 was raised for Best Friends and twenty-four local rescue groups that are part of the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network. There were more than 1200 people and 1500 dogs in attendance. Among them, Harriet and Juno, two beagles who were two of the one hundred beagles rescued from a testing facility in New Jersey last year.
Best Friends used this year’s event to launch their Invisible Dog campaign which aims to draw attention to those animals that remain invisible to the public because they still remain in shelters. To promote this new campaign, they were giving out leashes attached to empty harness. I know people thought I was crazy walking down the street with an invisible dog but it did make people look and ask questions. And I guess that’s the point.
I like my invisible dog, but the non-invisible dogs in my life are a lot more fun to hang with. And I guess that’s also the point.
(All photos by Christi Nichols)