Sunday, September 23, 2012

PAWS Chicago Run for Their Lives Walk!

This morning Zoe, K. and I participated in what has become an annual tradition in our household: the PAWS Chicago Run for Their Lives fundraiser. PAWS [pets are worth saving] is Chicago's largest no-kill humane organization, and is the rescue that brought Zoe and Stella into our lives. (As you may recall, Freddie was our TNR backyard kitty). Every year, PAWS has a huge 8K run / 4K walk to raise money to support their targeted spay/neuter program, as well as their adoption and community outreach initiatives. Last year alone, PAWS adopted out 2140 dogs and 2128 cats. Pretty amazing!

As anyone who knows me can attest, I am pathetically uncoordinated not much of a runner, which is why I love that PAWS has a dog-friendly walking option! We were lucky this year because the weather was perfect. Zoe even got to sport her trademark pink sweatshirt.

Because the event is swarming with humans and dogs alike, it is definitely not for everyone. The added dog factor is especially tough because not everyone is necessarily paying attention to where their pets are walking. I tried to deal with that by keeping an eye on the dogs around us and watching Zoe for any kind of cues that she was uncomfortable.

By and large, it was a successful walk! Z didn't react to any dogs, and was tolerant of those around her. (I've learned that she hates it when dogs jump in her face -- although she often finds it perfectly acceptable to do the same thing to other dogs!). Compared to her behavior last year, I can see that Zoe's experience with Chicago SociaBulls walks has helped her manage this type of setting. The main difference that we saw was that she now understands that she does not need to meet and greet every single person and dog that comes her way -- which isn't to say that she still wouldn't love to if we would let her.

Of course, there were still many moments when I had to work hard to get her to focus on me. We are still struggling with her jumping problem when greeting new people, and she most definitely tried to go "bucking bronco" on the leash a few times. With the help of our trainer, I've learned that asking Zoe to "work" for me by sitting (or doing any kind of command) really helps her regain her calm.

And naturally, having lots of tasty treats on hand helped too!

While the walk itself was tons of fun, here's the best part: thanks to our incredibly generous family and friends, we were able to raise $700 dollars for PAWS this year! That's more than ever before, and I cannot express how grateful we are. We certainly wouldn't have been able to do it without such an amazing network of animal lovers!

We cannot thank you enough for helping to better the lives of Chicago's neediest animals! It's because of people like you that dogs like Zoe get a fresh start in life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  1. What a perfect day! Bruce and I went on the walk a few years ago and it was definitely a challenge being so crowded with so many people and dogs. I'd love to do it again one year, but we need to get back to practicing with SociaBulls soon...we should be back next weekend!

  2. Awesome post - this really does look like a perfect day!! Congrats on the success!!!! :)

  3. Looks like an amazing day! Great job, Zoe!

  4. Way to go, Zoe! It's very impressive that you were able to take a walk with so many other dogs and people around! I laughed when I read that you don't like it when other dogs jump in your face, but you find it perfectly acceptable to do the same to them! Silly girl!

    1. Thank you! It was tough -- she had her moments! (That's so funny that Athena does the same thing!). :)

  5. Glad the walk went well! Love the pictures, especially the 2nd one of Zoe on the bench, her sidesaddle sit is so cute! Her hoodie is great, where did you find it? The pocket placement is classic.


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