Mollie, Sadie and Bash know what’s coming on Thanksgiving morning.
The dogs, all large mixed breeds, start getting excited midway through the drive to High Bridge Park, owner Jana Earle said. There, they join about 150 huskies, dachshunds, basset hounds and labs with their owners for a brisk two-mile walk.
The walk is a SpokAnimal event to raise funds for the dog park, which opened in 2011. Earle, her husband and their dogs have done the walk every year since it was started in 2008 to help get the park open.
“One year we had a blizzard. This is nice,” she said of the chilly Thursday morning.
There’s no official headcount of the dogs present, but SpokAnimal development director Dori Peck said this year’s walk appeared to be the organization’s largest by far.
“I would say we doubled last year,” she said. “Our donation jug is packed.”
SpokAnimal raised $937 from the event, Peck said.
Volunteers for the humane organization manned a table, where they handed out goodie bags of treats, T-shirts and pastries to people. For a $5 donation, attendees could take home a plush dog or cat toy.
Alta, a young mini-Doberman pinscher, poked her head nervously out the neck of Monty Hines’ jacket. She’s a rescue dog who just arrived in Spokane from a California shelter, where she was scheduled to be put down, he said.
“She’s one of our more severely traumatized dogs,” Hines said, cradling Alta in his arms. “I finally was able to pick her up yesterday.” He hoped having her out around people and dogs would begin socializing her so she’s eventually ready to be adopted.
Mariah Bailly made it to the walk with her husky, Koda, for the first year. In past years, she’s gotten up later and made it to the dog park after the walk is over.
“It was a struggle,” Bailly said with a laugh.
She got Koda when he was four months old from a woman whose dog had a surprise litter. It took him about a year to grow to full size, she said.
“He can be quite a handful. He’s like a kid,” she said. “Huskies are really smart, but sometimes they’re too smart.”
Koda can usually figure out what she’s trying to get him to do and may decide he doesn’t feel like doing it, she said.
Bailly’s brother, Adam, walked with a large black mastiff, Kronos. His sister got him the dog as a late graduation and early birthday present.
Adam Bailly struggled to control the dog as they traversed the paths in the park. “Slow down!” he admonished Kronos as the dog dragged him by the leash.
Earle said after walking her three dogs, she planned to have Thanksgiving dinner with her family at her son’s house.
At the volunteer table, SpokAnimal regulars swapped stories of their own pets and discussed Thanksgiving plans.
“That’s what it’s all about: starting the day out with friends and family,” Peck said.
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