After reading about Chicago SociaBulls and Pack of Erie Dogs, I’ve been yearning to get into a pack walking group but have had some challenges. I wanted a group that was still in the early stages of development, was bully-centric but still all inclusive, naturally non-judgmental, and governed by rules that I could get on board with and by people who shared many of my goals for the group and values in dog ownership.
I know that is a pretty specific list for someone who hasn’t joined any other pack walking groups in the area. We may be lucky here in that there are several groups in our area who walk and though I haven’t tried to join any of the others, I knew this one was for us.
The Bully Collective was founded by two women who are relatively new to Pit Bull-type dog ownership, but not to dogs in general and have recently discovered first hand some breed specific prejudice differences in treatment while walking their dogs. The Collective was formed to give dog owners a safe and non-judgmental place to gather, exchange ideas and develop our dog’s social and walking skills. It was decided to use a color coded bandana system to distinguish them on the temperament spectrum. My big dilemma was which dog would I take?
Although the theme was non-judgment, at the back of my mind I kept thinking about the pressure I was putting on myself to bring the “right” dog. While we haven’t ever joined a pack walking group before, Ray has participated in several “Pit Bull” parade types of things and is generally the one I take out in public for functions and Julius’s walking skills are a million times better when he is walking with Ray. I just knew I didn’t want to try handling a two-fer on our first walk and Ray would probably not be able to make the nearly 2 mile trek anyway.
Julius was the lucky winner and upon seeing the assembled group, began his usually screaming. Yes. Screaming. He gets so excited when he sees potential playmates that he absolutely screeches in an almost hound dog/blood curdling way. As the group established a walking order (our initial lap consisted of a group of four), we realized Juli was going to need to be a the lead or would potentially have a series of mini strokes while trying to catch up with the leaders. Luckily as Juli and Clyde found their stride, the walk (and Julius) became relaxed and pleasant until Juli mastered the art of pooping while walking. Hip-hip hoo for a non-judgment zone.
We had one more arrive just as we were ending our first lap, so we decided to go another for as much as we could so that 12 year old “Daddy” who is in foster waiting for a forever family, could walk with us. The second lap turned out just as well and we all seem to be excited and energized by the spirit and direction of this group. I’m really happy to have been invited to be a part of the grass roots beginning of this group and look forward to a lot of good coming from it.
Do you pack walk in your area? What are your experiences?