No, we don't have a dog. However, I love to stroll and love dogs, so Mommy asked the Oregon Humane Society if we could participate in the Doggie Dash this year. They said yes, and to our surprise said that another lady brings her cat and does the walk/run with the cat around her shoulders! We didn't see the lady & cat this year, but heard from many people that she was there again.
So, on Saturday the stroller was packed into Mommy's mom's car, I was harnessed and ready, and water, food, and other essentials were along. It was a beautiful day, one of the first sunny, warm days we've had since the start of the year, at a high of 74 degrees F.
There was a run, a 2 1/2 mile walk, and a 1 1/2 mile walk. We participated in the 2 1/2 mile walk. All three went from downtown Portland, OR, USA, along the Willamette River on the west side, then the longer walk and the run went over a bridge, along the other side of the river, and back over another bridge to the starting point. A wonderful, scenic route, with lots of photo ops for those who chose to do so! Everything was untimed, so you could go at your own pace.
SO MANY PEOPLE!!! The Doggie Dash is now in its 23rd year, with major publicity, but we still were surprised at the amount of people involved. My friend Diana and I had talked about meeting before the race started, but neither of us could find the other! At one point, we even lost where Grandma was, and she and Mommy had to call each other on their cell phones and leave messages as to where we were, because of course it was too noisy to hear the cell phones ring!
There was a pancake breakfast before the race started. I didn't want any, but Mommy said it was good. At the butter & syrup table, there was even a plate of pancakes with a note that said, "Doggy Cakes"! After she ate, we walked around to a few of the vendors. One vendor, LexiDog Boutique, had special t-shirts for sale with "Doggie Dash" on them and the logo, so I got a pink one. Lexi's mom, who owns and operates the store, told us the shirts stretched, and thought maybe the medium would fit me, but the large fit me best. I wore it until we got done with the walk, then it was too hot for me to wear a shirt.
We saw a group of people stopping to take pictures along the walking route, so we asked a volunteer from the Oregon Humane Society to take one of us. I would NOT look at the camera, though!
While we were doing the walk, or should I say Mommy was doing the walk and I was riding in my stroller, we got mixed reactions from the other people and dogs. Some people questioned whether I should be there, two dogs didn't like me (but Mommy pulled the stroller back when she saw them react to my scent from a safe distance and kept everyone safe), but then we had others who thought that it was great that we were there. That's the normal mix we get when we go out anywhere. I got kisses and tongue baths from five or six dogs, nose touches, and some tried to sniff my rear end. No reaction from me, of course, except I did hiss at one that kept on too long, but other than that I let the dogs sniff and lick away, and sniffed them back. Mommy said I was a good girl during the whole day! :)
Three dogs had never seen a cat before in their lives, so their owners asked if they could introduce the dogs to me and see their reaction. Two of those dogs licked me, one touched noses with me, but one could've cared less! It was like it was saying, "Oh, THAT'S a cat? So???" Looked, then sniffed the grass. Another dog was afraid of wheels, but we ended up walking by her during a lot of the time and she didn't even flinch at the stroller or at various bikes that went by! Her mom was so proud of her! We were also a landmark for a couple people as we were strolling, hearing every so often: "I'm right by/behind the cat!" We met some therapy dogs and complimented each other on the good work that we do. Of course, the other animal-assisted therapy team people were nonplussed about a cat working, because they know the training required for it, and their dogs ignored the fact that there was a cat in the stroller, because they knew that they weren't supposed to react.
The 2 1/2 miles took us an hour and 10 minutes. After the walk, Grandma, Mommy, and I strolled around to all the vendors and also watched sheepdog trials. Mommy had a border collie/Aussie shepherd/golden retriever mix when she was growing up, so she still loves to watch them "work", even if it's for show.
I was getting very warm, so Mommy took my pink shirt off me. Mommy was going to cool me down with water and get me into the shade, and a couple people who stopped to pet me had commented on that as well, but then she saw a vendor that was selling cooling collars! I now have a blue cooling collar made by Outward Hound, and I LOVE it! It's got crystals in it that expand when it's soaked, so they keep the water and the cold. It's the same system as the bandannas that are available for people. The vendor, PetUtopia, was also selling cooling vests, but Mommy thought that would be a bit much for me. I'm very glad they had the cooling collars, though, because they were the only ones who had anything like that for sale! With the warm weather, we were surprised that none of the other vendors had thought about that.
I cooled right off with my new collar, and meowed at Mommy to re-soak it when it started drying out again two hours later. I posed proudly for a few pictures that other participants took, and some that are for the official Doggie Dash photo page. Volunteers walked around and took pictures of participants and vendors, then the pictures will go up on a website. Prints will be available for $5 each from the Oregon Humane Society, and all proceeds will go towards the shelter programs.
At one point, I saw a welcoming patch of grass in the shade and sat up very tall in my stroller, wanting to stop so I could jump out. Mommy stopped, and I walked into the Woodin' You booth, with its food/water bowls & pet beds. Belly-down in the cool grass, with Mommy holding the end of my leash, I crossed my paws and closed my eyes, taking a little time out from all the activity around me. After a few minutes, I got some visitors who sniffed and licked me, and some who petted me. The person who was running the booth let us be in there for as long as we wanted and didn't comment on it, instead just smiled and went about helping customers. When I was done resting for a bit, I sat up again and Mommy got a really good pic of me. Then she picked me up and put me back in the stroller.
We went to a couple more booths, then found Grandma again and left. We stopped for food on the way home, went to the Vancouver side of the Columbia River to a park to eat, where Mommy soaked my collar again, then went home. All the other cats sniffed EVERYTHING all over when we got back, of course! I was SO tired, so after some food and a litter box trip, I took a long nap!