Dalmatians, Yorkies, Goldens, Shetlands, Greyhounds, Labs, Terriers, Poodles… I was up to my ears in dogs today and loving every minute of it! Talk about a pooch paradise at the Furry 5K in Seattle. It was amazing to see thousands of people and hundreds of dogs come together in the same space, and all for a very important reason, to raise money for the Seattle Animal Shelter.
Never have I been so excited to wake up at 5:30 in the morning after working the night shift. I only got four hours of sleep, but it was totally worth the grogginess and a bad hair day to see a sea of slobbery, smiling, insanely happy faces – most of those on the dogs, of course! I volunteered to work the registration table and as I gazed out at the huge crowd, I was struck by the fact that all the participants showed up because their dogs are not merely pets. Not by a long shot. These dogs are family. They are companions. They are soul mates to each and every family. A half of a whole. These people care so much about their dogs and are so connected to them that they dedicated an entire afternoon to making the dogs happy… even if it meant the hassle of strategizing the best way to load and fit a Great Dane into a car, or resigning to the fact that those sparkling windows will soon be covered in sloppy tongue and nose marks (there’s no escaping that one). It is the essence of unconditional love. Then I thought about the dogs sitting in cages back at the shelter. I wish those dogs could know a tenth of the love I saw today. With the dedication of the shelter and support from the public, I’m hopeful someday they will.
(OK, Sarah McLaughlin moment over!)
The other thing that struck me today was just how gosh darn many breeds there are. I don’t think I saw the same dog twice! Each one had an individual personality and that “special something” that made you fall in love over and over again. I was a grinning fool all day. Here’s a sampling of some of the sweethearts I got to meet.