Our 3rd Pack Walk! What to Expect…
Our 3rd Pack Walk! What to Expect……
It’s really hard to believe this is our 3rd community driven “Pack Walk.” Not long ago I was writing a blog to help those who were “going” via our Event page and others who committed, to understand what inspired us to create this monthly, year round Pack Walk.
Our initial goals were simple. Bring dog lovers together every single month of the year, enjoy nature with our four legged friends, and don’t let fair weather be the only time you do these things. The idea was rain, snow, or shine to help show how weather doesn’t stop you from walking dogs in other parts of the world that get little summer. You can read in that first blog how we HOPED, AND PREDICTED certain things, but had no idea until it was over.
The turnout was great! (Recap blog) We expected anywhere from 20-80 people (meaning we had no clue really) and ended up around 50, with over 60 dogs. Despite a tent that went up an hour late, and not knowing really what we were doing it went off without a hitch.
The metaphorical aspect Sunniva spoke about at the end of the introductions was powerfully spot on with how we see these walks. It’s about moving in the same direction, it’s about keeping focus and understanding that within the pack the unity and energy connecting us is stronger. One step in front of the other, facing the same direction, a group of people can achieve anything!
We had around 6 rescues and shelters, we had chocolates hand made with paw molds for our event by our friend, a chocolatier from the Netherlands, we had gift bags, and another vendor supporting us on our journey.
We did it! The first one was now behind us and we worked towards the second. Moving from the comfort of our local park, Gulley Park, to the North Bentonville trail we set up round two near the dog park area in Bentonville. This time we had dogs from Oklahoma and the Grove Humane Society and an equal number of rescues and shelters with dogs that could be fostered or adopted out.
It was a time I got to see some friends from childhood that live on that side of Northwest Arkansas, a new vendor that showed up with a table to sell their home made dog treats (we had Joey’s Bakery at our first one) and a loop that turned out to work really well. I think those there had a great time and we did “Defy the Sophomore Slump”!
This third walk that is scheduled Sunday, just two days away, we ended up moving the date towards the end of the month for a couple of reasons. One is that my wife had to be put on bed rest late May and we thought early June we might have a baby. It seemed wise to adjust the date some and with Sunniva’s mom Elin here from Norway to see the birth/baby and visit all of us it felt symbolically important that she could get a glimpse of one of our community outreach events that we are proud of. It was on a walk in Sweden (spoke of this in first Pack Walk blog) that with our own pack of 5 dogs we really thought out how to develop this concept when our company moved to the US to get launched in full capacity.
So the time has come! We’re here! The theme of this month’s walk for now is LESS IS MORE!
I didn’t push hard for vendors (we have had vendors at each of our first two walks with a tent) since this month had so many uncertain variables. We have had a collaborative mind helping us shape the ones down the road into more EVENTS versus just the walk and that will include more vendors BUT because of the high probability that we either have a brand new baby, Sunniva would be VERY PREGNANT, meant she may not be able to make it, and a chance neither of us could if the baby came in the middle of the night/early Sunday.
This is one of 3 reasons after walking Skyline Loop on Mt Sequoyah last night we felt safest moving it back to Gulley Park where it all began for us in early April! One of our favorite clients/supporters/friends is in place to step up if any of those baby circumstances happened. Because (at this point) 7 shelters and rescues are committed there is a chance we have a typical crowd size (but can be smaller or bigger, we can never predict that!) it felt easiest to have this one back in familiar spaces! You guys know where to park, we’ll gather at the same spot we had our tent and banner up, and do the 30-40 minute loop with some socializing afterward.
This walk (as I type this blog) is going to be centered on the simple concept of showing adoptable dogs in a natural environment, letting our local rescues and shelters have some time for others to learn about them as we let them introduce themselves and dogs they brought, and a group of people in our community who love their dogs and letting them experience an instinctual Pack Walk. Moving in the same direction with 60 dogs is a really cool feeling. If you can even tap in to the energy a little bit, you feel the collective nature of what’s happening and as people that have attended have shared it’s a special thing!
There will be no tent this time, no vendors that I know of (I felt in the event of a birth and both of us were gone I wanted to minimize issues that could arise) no cheap nail trimmings by Sunniva after BUT we will as always be there to visit with you guys, everyone shares laughs, and behavioral questions can be asked as always after we are done. This will be the last Pack Walk for several months that is so simple, short in nature of happening, but I know even with our first one that was at Gulley Park people really enjoyed themselves.
There will be a sign in sheet I’ll have on a clipboard and this is the 2nd of twelve walks that qualifies for you for one free year of pet sitting (one of our services) SO SIGN IN WHEN YOU ARRIVE! Same gathering spot around the main entrance parking lot! By 9AM we shout out to gather up and get the introductions of organizations, information about the dogs they brought, things they want to announce and around 9:15AM we take off!
Now, A BIT ABOUT THE FUTRE OF OUR WALKS!
The bright side of us taking some time back from the core of our business which is pet consulting, behavior modification work (along with dog walking and pet sitting).. is a chance to really dig back in and take what’s worked well and expand it, what hasn’t and try to fix it, and plan with intent on how we see the Fall.
July and August Pack Walks will NOT BE AT OUR REGULAR 9-10AM TIME SLOTS! We will do a sunrise and a sunset to avoid the muggy heat and let the owners see some of the cooler aspects of nature. That time of day when it sets and rises is what they call the “Space Between.” It’s a very calm period of the day with no wind, and amplified energy. I was up on Mt Sequoyah loop for the sunrise yesterday. You just can’t put into words how it feels to be out walking during those two times of the day.
VISION! Our walks will become more ½ day events from September forward. It always was seen by us as something that combined unique foods, socializing, and very interesting areas to walk with our dogs (hiking in some cases like Devil’s Den) We will work in some free, or greatly reduced pricing on workshop training (looking to do some in the Fall locally at other pet related businesses that are giving us floor space) games, food, and deeper connections with those in attendance. Some of the cooler ideas we have during these 3-4 four hour events we’ll hold onto but I think you’ll see stronger vendor presence, items for sale by local businesses, and live music. You’ll always have the option to come for the walk, which will be early in the day, sign in that you made it, and leave but for those traveling so far and a more evolved concept we want these to grow organically into what you guys and the public seems to be pushing us towards.
A mobile dog washing machine we hope to get our hands on will allow cheap washings for your dogs to add to the full experience, we’ll be doing nail trimmings again for our discounted price (Sunniva usually does the ones others struggle to do) after the walks and again SOME COOL NEW ADDITIONS to extend these walks into monthly mini “Events”
We’ll keep listening to you, watching the dogs, and trying to make these monthly Pack Walks fun to do, interesting, and show the world that Northwest Arkansas is one of the only spots in the US doing organized walks of this nature every month of the year.
By late Fall I hope to see a dozen dogs adopted or FOSTERED out via our walks. It’s such a wonderful time to see them in nature and a better glimpse of their real temperament.
Thank you to the rescues and shelters that have supported us, who have found these walks to be fun and helpful for your cause. Thank you to Fayetteville, AR and Bentonville, AR for letting us have these events each month.
The only thing we promise is to keep doing them, to keep thinking how to make them better/more interesting/educational/and fun!
The June event has little glam but lots of heart, and we can’t wait to see you guys again and meet some new people and new rescues that will be there this Sunday!