Friday, December 2, 2011

"Dog Scouts?  I've never heard of Dog Scouts!"

We hear this a lot, so I thought it would be worthwhile to blog a bit about the Dog Scouts and what we do.  Dog Scouts of America is a national organization dedicated to enriching the lives of dogs and their people through education and promoting fun activities people can do with their dogs.  For more details on the national organization, check out their website:
Dog Scouts of America

I belong to our local Dog Scout troop, Troop #194, also known as the Richmond River Dogs!  The troop was started by my friends Jennifer and Juneau a couple years ago.  (Jennifer totally ROCKS, by the way, and Juneau is the most amazing dog ever.)

Our troop's activities include monthly hikes, swim parties in the summer, and holiday "pawties".  We also do demonstrations such as agility demonstrations and tricks demonstrations at local events -- to show people some of the things you can do with your dogs to learn, improve your human-dog bond, and have fun!  We encourage people to get out and do more things with their dogs, whether it's taking a class such as agility, tricks, flyball, trieball, tracking or nosework, or just getting out for a hike.  In 2011, we added fundraising to our activities, and raised a bunch of money for local animal welfare (and some non-animal) non-profits at various local events.

Because I'm so proud of what the Richmond River Dogs has accomplished in the past year, I want to brag about it!

Our first fundraising event ever was at the Henrico Humane Society Pet Expo in early 2011.  By selling homemade dog treats baked by our members, we raised $265 for the Henrico Humane Society!

Fundraising is exhausting!
Next, my friends and fellow troop members Sherry and Willow scored us a free booth at Shamrock the Block (thanks to Micki who gave us the booth!), where we raised $395 for Ring Dog Rescue selling homemade dog and people treats and playing the piano for donations.  (Yes, mom shamelessly placed a hat on my piano and I played the piano, while Willow sat there and looked cute and pretended to sing.  The two of us brought in some pretty impressive tips!)

Getting into the Shamrock the Block spirit
Our booth at Shamrock the Block
Lovely Willow
In March, at Hanover County's Mardi Paws, Troop #194 provided a tricks demonstration and sold homemade dog and people treats, raising $275 for Fetch-a-Cure, in spite of the bitterly cold weather and mom's dramatic fall from the step ladder while setting up.  (Don't worry -- she's like gumby -- she just bounced.)

I practiced my tricks for DAYS to be ready for Mardi Paws!

Our booth at Mardi Paws
Jennifer and Juneau winning the loose-leash walking contest
Dezi and me
Gauis looking very regal
Ozzy keeping an eye on things
Skye looking very sharp in her Dog Scout bandana (or is this Lexi?)
Jewels is the cutest Dog Scout ever!
In April, a number of us participated in the Richmond SPCA Dog Jog, and troop members raised over $740 for the Richmond SPCA.

Resting after the RSPCA Dog Jog
Our human troop members participated in the James River Clean-up and removed several large trash bag-fulls of gross, disgusting (their words), water-logged, mud-encrusted litter from the river (plus one tire, courtesy of Jennifer).  Later that same day, the River Dogs provided agility and tricks demonstrations at the Puppy Bowl at Fort Lee.

Jennifer and Julie with some of the trash they picked up

Troop #194 also participated in the Hanover Bark for Life by providing tricks and agility demonstrations and fielding a team that raised over $1,110 for the American Cancer Society through sponsorship of team members, cookie sales, and a gift basket raffle.

Me doing my penguin imitation during the tricks demo
Sassy (or Peri?) in the agility demo
Our booth at Bark for Life
We also provided tricks and agility demonstrations at a very special birthday party for a little girl named Lily.  In lieu of payment to us, her parents made a $100 donation to Richmond Animal League to help our friend and hike leader Marshall in his bid to be on the cover of the 2012 RAL calendar.  (Marshall didn't make the cover, but he's in the calendar.)

Juneau demonstrating his athletic abilities at Lily's birthday party
Willow looking lovely (as usual)
Juneau made a new friend! 
The River Dogs bravely walked in the Midlothian Day Parade -- bravely because there was a motorcycle revving its engine right behind us, a marching band in front of us, and candy was flying everywhere!  But we behaved amazingly, in spite of the fact that some of us don't particularly like marching bands or revving motorcycles.

Richmond River Dogs were the hit of the Midlothian Day Parade!
I'm in a parade!!!!
Ozzy and Willow were unruffled, in spite of the very loud motorcycle right behind them!
Juneau and Stella took the lead, as the best looking Dog Scouts ever!
We also had a lot of fun in 2011.  Almost every month, we went on an awesome hike lead by Josh and Brian of Canine Adventure.  We got to sniff and romp and swim and get muddy and basically just be dogs -- which is a wonderful thing.  During the summer, we also had a couple of really fun pool parties and pond swims to beat the heat hanging out with our buds.

October James River loop hike
Marshall, Josh, Sexy Rex, Katie, and me crossing the Boulevard Bridge during the October  hike
Waiting for the ball

Hero is saying to me "Come on, old man!"
Pool Party!!!
I'd say the Richmond River Dogs had a pretty great year!

This blog entry is dedicated to Jennifer, without whom there would be no Troop #194.  All of the dogs and humans of the Richmond River Dogs are deeply indebted to you for starting the troop and providing us with opportunities to hike and play and learn and meet many wonderful dogs and people.  Thank you from the bottom of our big puppy hearts!

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