Our One Year Anniversary Pack Walk
It was April of 2013 when we set out in one direction at Gulley Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas for the first time. We shared the story of how the idea was conceived (Community Pack Walk – And They are Off!) during that first introduction in front of our event tent. We had no idea how these walks would evolve, or if we could sustain a monthly concept….but on this day in April 2014 we celebrate the fact that we achieved our goal. And that goal is very simple. To bring dog lovers together, whether they are into dog shows, agility, obedience, rescue or they simply enjoy their dog as a four-legged family member. We all have the love of dogs in common, and the desire to be social, while having a safe environment for dogs and humans alike.
People tend to arrive half an hour or so early, and we all meet around the event tent. On this Anniversary Pack Walk we announced our new non profit, The Solgave Project, and gave a brief intro on that. We will launch up to four initiatives per year, and our first that starts May 1st is the Yellow Dog Project. Sunniva and Tricia gave a brief, but very compelling talk about what exactly that is – stay tuned to find out more about that initiative in just a few days!
Using real life examples of how appropriate space and “manners” are for both humans and dogs, you get to see the light bulb moments for people as they recognize the “bubbles of space” we all need. Our pack walks have a great track record of no incidents, but we are a team of people, constantly monitoring the things Sunniva and Tricia addressed today. Space, keeping our dogs close to us, how to greet a dog appropriately, etc. We plan on using these tips in a more formal set of instructions to help people get the most out of our walks!
The variety of dogs and people at our walks are so unique, and we continue to try and get new types of dogs and owners! Registered breeds or show dogs, to mixed breed dogs from the streets…we welcome everyone! It really is a judgement free zone. We don’t want our walks to become popularity contests, or cliquey, just a way to continue and share education and awareness on things that can help our dog community and their owners, and get out into nature where we recognize balance is so accessible when we are open to it!
Above you see Zaida the therapy dog, with Tricia her owner and handler. She is an essential part in the launch of our Solgave Project. Our hope is to use therapy dogs, not just in the traditional sense of visiting hospitals or retirement homes (but we want to do that!) but to educate, to demonstrate ways that animals can help us learn more about ourselves! This is the Solgave Project’s ultimate goal. To bring nature and animals to a place they can actually help, and not just help, but heal the human spirit.
Sunniva led the way this time! It’s so important in our pack walks to stay together and feel the “collective” energy that brings such peace and direction to the animals! Moving in one direction as a pack, has symbolic and literal effects on us.
Children, animals, friends and new attendees, all moving in that same direction together! It’s hard to describe how cool it feels until you’ve been apart of one!
You will see everything from these sweeties pushed in a stroller (due to a heart condition and other health issues) to the giant Mastiff, and a Great Dane, and to everything in between. We love the diversity of dogs and people!
We have two kids of our own, so the pack walks are always going to be family friendly! These events should bring children together outdoors as well, where they can breathe fresh air and see their parents doing healthy things together!
Our anniversary walk was just one mile, but we’ve also done walks up to 6 miles. We like to change things up so everyone gets a chance to attend at least a couple per year. We’ve done Crystal Bridges Trail twice, Lake Wilson, Devil’s Den, some amazing sunset walks in the summer including Mt Sequoyah Loop!
Back at the tent finally! For our anniversary special community walk, we had an Easter Egg hunt with big prizes from our sponsors Greenhouse Grille, Arsaga’s Depot, Best Friends Animal Hospital, Terra Tots, Good Will Massage, The Whole Pet, Pesto Cafe, and Solgave Animal Solutions!
We reminded everyone of the safety issues and caution during the egg hunt. We had one area for kids, and one area for adults, with special metallic looking eggs that held the coolest prizes! Once the post walk instructions were given, they were off!
Wow! We pulled off an egg hunt with humans and dogs on leashes! Several of the eggs had high quality treats for the dogs, or pieces of paper they brought to the tent to get their prize. The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up with the new people who had never been to a walk before, discussing volunteer opportunities and the vision for our new project, and our regulars or semi regular core group catching up on life! I’m proud to say we’ve had new people at the last 5 walks! So each time we’re challenging people to bring a friend or share the experience they had!
Yep, fun was had by all! We had the perfect amount of people and a great energy that carried us through the day! For the next 12 walks we plan on 8 being nature oriented with next months either Devil’s Den or Mt Kessler, and 4 a year will be EVENT oriented in parks like Lake Bella Vista, Gulley, Wilson, etc! We’ll work to push the boundaries of the experiences at the event focused ones, and also push the boundaries of how far and what aspects of nature we challenge ourselves to explore with these 8 nature based pack walks! Some will be longer than ever before, and in new places.
Join us for our next one!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/solgaveanimalsolutions and look under our events to see where the next ones will be held!
All of these amazing photographs were taken by Lacie Crider of Flutter-By Photagraphy