Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WalkADog at Dataran Merdeka - 9 Nov

The Spastics Children’s Association, Selangor Social Welfare Council and over 30 welfare based NGOs held the 15th Annual Charity Walk-Jog-WheelAThon at Dataran Merdeka. Main objective of the recreational fund raising event is to provide an opportunity for NGOs to work for a common cause and show support to the disabled by walking and jogging with them. PetnYou was invited to participate via the Save-A-Stray Organisation. Support is paramount on this occasion, not only in participation but to pave way for an annual WalkADog event whereby dogs and owners can have a day of fun and make a statement for dogs and their place in our lives and community.

This was a high profile occasion for me as dogs have never been permitted on the hallowed grounds of Dataran Merdeka (‘Independence Square’), a historical landmark and tourist attraction. Rumours were that the DBKL municipal officers will have a heightened presence, just waiting to pounce on misbehaving dogs and irresponsible owners. Needless to say, all participating dogs had to be at their best behavior on the day.

Hence, we polished our licenses, cleaned out the ear wax and combed our hair for we needed to impress. There were approx 50 dogs present and invitation was only limited to trained dogs. We were given oversized white singlets with ‘Save A Stray’ messages, making the smaller amongst us looking like the wet market fishmonger.

However, a couple of uninvited guests slipped through the organizer’s net and there was an unfortunate incident whereby a S’tzu got bitten by a huge mixed breed who wasn’t about to let go. Thank goodness Mr Owner learnt a new move on how to pry open stubborn jaws – Sneak up from behind and squeeze them balls! … Ouch, even I felt that from a distance away.

The immaculate Selangor Club Padang was off limits to dogs. Pity cause it looked like a perfect pitch, just ideal for play and running free. Access to the main stage was also limited to the demo dogs. Quite a lot of fuss over dogs but Malaysian owners only have themselves to blame as pet hygiene at public arenas hasn’t always been a top priority. Glad to say that the Walkadog event faired well in that most owners did clean up after their dogs.
Roads around Dataran Merdeka were closed to facilitate the walkathon and we felt privileged to be strolling beside the old High Court buildings. We flagged off at 8am, escorting a group of kids on wheelchairs and with a walking handicap. Lotus the MinPin hitched a ride with one of the kids whereas most of us walked beside the spirited kids. Many kids had a go at walking our dogs on leash and the more energetic dogs appeared to be giving them a hand by tugging their wheelchairs across the finish line.

My owners decided to hang around at the back and I struggled to ‘keep up’ with their tortoise pace. My mates, Russell, Kimi, Cami and Sissy were already way in front and you know how I just can’t stand coming in last at the races. So I kept tugging and pulling to get my humans going, but they were on slow-mo as they were escorting a couple of kids. So I was heaving and wheezing from start till finish from all that tugging on the leash … and at the finish line, I could just spot my mates sniggering at me for bringing up the rear end, sheesh.
Besides WalkADog, the Dog Squad also had the rare opportunity of performing live on stage in the heart of KL city. With the world’s tallest flag pole as the backdrop, we kicked off with the dog parade cum fashion show. Was a fairly sizeable crowd and they were highly enthusiastic about the dog demos, more so the kids. Kimi, Cami, Sissy and I were in charge of the dog sports. Generous cheers and applause greeted our frisbee catches, dance grooves, agility runs and OB moves. There was a real buzz in the air and the kids and adults were definitely in the mood … perhaps it was equally rare for them to be amused by a pack of dogs with talent. The Chinese newspapers even commented that we won over the audience hearts with our performance!
Judging from the public’s response, the organizers are quietly confident that WalkaDog would feature again next year, which is great news. However, we may not be so keen as the DBKL officials, who were waiting at every corner for us to make a mistake, were overzealous in protecting the square from K9s and asked us to move along after our demos ended … spoilsports.

Still it was worth it, just being at KL’s famed historical landmark and city centre … the walkabout and performances were a bonus, the kids’ response … priceless. A piece of canine history was created at Independence Square today and was really cool just being there.

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