In Santa Cruz, CA the restaurants are going to the dogs. Three months ago Whitney Wilde came up with Woofers and Walkers, she wanted to organize a group of dog lovers to go for weekly walks ending in lunch at a local restaurant where they could sit and socialize. I’m liking the sound of this already.
“I’ve wanted to do this for five years now,” Wilde said. “As 41 percent of Santa Cruz County, I wanted to get dog owners together and put a public face on responsible dog ownership. Dog owners can be a real force in town.”
So far six restaurants have opted in, all have outdoor patio dining where dogs are now allowed. The only rules, dogs must be leashed and cleaned up after. Many of the group members have dogs that are rescues, this is a great way to help socialize them.
Nelli, a mixed breed terrier, along with the majority of the dogs in the group, were rescue dogs the owners saved from being killed, or in Daphne Morrissey’s case, from the life of a greyhound race dog.
“She didn’t know how to be a dog,” Morrissey said, describing her dog, Bean, when she first got her. “She didn’t know what stairs were or what a mirror was or how to play.”
After training and joining social groups such as Woofers and Walkers, Bean has grown more comfortable around other dogs and animals.
“This is to show how thankful we are to have these rescue dogs, and yet we are all rescued because of them,” Wilde said during a special remembrance ceremony for Tilly, a terrier owned by Jeanne Allen of Santa Cruz that had to be put down last week after battling illnesses.
“Not only is someone like Jeanne a person who has rescued dogs from being killed, but she is a great person,” Tess Cain said. “This group goes way beyond dog walking. This group has bonded us together and our dogs have been playmates ever since.”
We have a lot of dog walking groups in the Atlanta, GA area but none that end with lunch. This is such a great way to show those who don’t own dogs that dog owners are a responsible group.
If you live in the Santa Cruz area you can join Woofers and Walkers every Sunday for a different adventure.
*(Picture courtesy Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)