Mar 6, 2011

2011 Walkathon

We went to the Southeast Guide Dog Walkathon yesterday. 

This was our first one so we didn’t know what to expect.  We were surprised at the huge number of people and dogs that were there.  Of course there were lots of puppies in training, but there were also lots of working guide dogs, therapy dogs, and SEGD breeder dogs.  Then there were the dogs that are not part of the SEGD program.  Every kind of dog from chihuahuas to great danes were there.  We hoped to find Joeys parents and littermates so we could get some family pictures, but there were so many people and dogs there that it would be like finding------well, you get the idea.  We know Joey’s father is a golden retriever named Norm, and we checked every golden we saw there.  No Norm.  Joey’s mother, Janie, is a black lab.  Good luck finding her in this crowd where 75 % were black labs.  We did ask everyone that had a “Breeder” coat on their dog, but couldn’t find Janie.  OK, how about the littermates?  Joey has three brothers;  one black and two yellow.  We knew the black one, Kenny, would not be there.  One of the yellow ones is named Albert and is in another group near us.  I found one of the raisers in that group and found out that Albert was not at the walkathon.  The other yellow pup is still unknown to us.  I checked out every large yellow dog that looked like it might be a goldadore pup, but couldn’t find him. 
Oh, this is supposed to be Just About Joey, isn’t it?   OK, Joey must have thought he was at Doggie Disney!  He is so distracted by other dogs and here he was in the middle of hundreds!  He is getting better all the time at controlling himself around them, so he wasn’t too hard to correct when he got distracted. 
We were just starting our third lap around the park when the boys started whining about how tired they were.  Instead if listening to them complain for the rest of the day, we decided to go sit in the shade and watch the people and dogs walk past us.  Almost right away, I saw somebody I had been wanting to meet.  Joey’s sponsors also sponsored another dog they named Elvis.    I had been wanting to get pictures of the two dogs together. 

I recognized his raiser from pictures on their group’s website. When I was introducing myself, a lady walking with him introduced herself to me.  She was the raiser of HRH (Her Royal Highness) Berkeley, a sister of Elvis.  Please check out her blog if you haven’t done so yet.  So, we were in the presence of royalty.  Between the King, and Her Royal Highness, Joey needed to act respectable.  To him, acting respectable is not sniffing their butts. 

   After a few pictures, the royal siblings continued their walk and I took Joey back over to the main tent to check out more possible family members.  My family went to ride the little train that was running around there.  I still didn’t find Joey’s family, but staff members of SEGD recognized him from his days at the school during his puppy camp, and stopped to say hello.  Lots of people were surprised that Joey was still a puppy in training.  At his size, they all thought he was older and must have been career changed or something.  We were taking to the handler of “The Don”, one of the largest dogs to graduate from the school in recent history.  Standing side by side, Joey actually appeared to be just a little taller, but is definitely outweighed by the Don by about 25 lbs.  The Don is NOT overweight, just very well filled out.  Picture Arnold Schwarzenegger  at 6” 2”, standing next to a normal tall man who was just an inch or two taller.  Arnold would still be considered the larger person.  And so it is with the Don. 
When my family was done riding the train, they started looking for me.  I, along with 90% of the people there, was wearing a white Walkathon t-shirt. 

My son remarked to my wife, “OK, white t-shirt and a black dog, this shouldn’t be too hard”. 
In other news, our group’s new puppy goes home with his new raisers tomorrow.  They, along with all of us, are very excited about “Dave”.   There will be a new blog out there very soon about him.  Those of you that followed “Ellie’s Everyday Adventures” will soon see a new post there that will direct you to the new blog.  I will be sure to post a link to it as well.    


  1. The sea of white t-shirts and black dogs... so much fun!!! :)

    Picking "Davey" up tomorrow at 11:30... on the dot!


  2. Hello again from the "SEGD Staff Members who stopped by to say hello"!
    Jennifer and Stacey