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Canines ‘Dressed to the Nines’ — You gotta love Sarge’s Annual Downtown Dog Walk

By Paul Viau | Jul 20, 2016
Photo by: Carol Viau BISCUIT ROCKS THE BANANA SPLIT — 3-scoops for Biscuit, who competed in Sarges Annual Downtown Dog Walk in 2015.

Every year in early August, Waynesville’s Main Street comes alive with dogs (and dog owners) all ‘strutting their stuff.’

No, it’s not a demonstration of dog rights or a protest against cats, birds, lizards, ferrets and iguanas. Nor is this a protest of the defoliation of the Historic Haywood County Courthouse lawn. Far from it. Dogs love that lawn. (You know what I mean.)

The Downtown Dog Walk is Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and when you save the lives of as many animals as Sarge’s does, pet lovers everywhere rally in support.

Did you know? Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation has saved the lives of more than 7,000 dogs and cats in its 10 years. And those rescued animals have found loving ‘forever homes,’ enriching the lives of countless pet owners.

My wife, Carol, and I have adopted two Sarge’s animals — both cats. And in their own way, both are active supporters of Sarge’s. Our 5-year-old tabby, Marissa, is (quite literally) a ‘huge’ supporter of the cause. And our most recent rescue, a tiny tabby/tortie we named Maui, would love to wear a hula skirt at Sarge’s Downtown Dog Walk, but for some reason the organizers feel she might be a disruptive influence.

Which brings me to the main reason Sarge’s Downtown Dog Walk is so popular — pure and simple — it’s so much fun.

For starters, this is a parade unlike any other — with pet owners showing off their dogs, dogs showing off their costumes, spectators shouting out their support and ‘celebrity’ judges doing their best to show impartiality.

BTW, I used the word ‘celebrity’ in quotes, because last year I was asked to join 99-Kiss Country personalities, Eddie Foxx and Sharon Green, leading the parade and joining them on the judge’s stand. It was an honor and a lot of fun, but a difficult job picking the best-dressed dog, best dog trick and best tail-wagging dog.

This year, The Mountaineer’s Guide editor, Shelby Harrell, gets the honor of marching in the parade with Eddie and Sharon, and joining them on the judging stand. I’ll be marching in the parade (sans dog) but wearing a real dog-friendly hat.

Before and after the parade, I have been recruited as the liaison between Sarge’s sponsors and vendors. I look forward to meeting and helping all those who have been such a huge help to the Sarge’s cause.

You, too, can join me and make Sarge’s 2016 Downtown Dog Walk the biggest and best ever.

Register Today

Sarge’s 11th Annual Downtown Dog Walk will take place at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, starting in front of the Historic Haywood County Courthouse in downtown Waynesville.

This year’s emcee will be Greg Kidd, who promises to keep the event rolling with music and colorful commentary. Youth for Sarge’s will also be on hand with a lemonade stand.

Registration forms are available at www.sargeanimals.org. There is a $15 entry fee for each dog walking in the event, which includes a free Dog Walk goody bag and dog bandana.

With your registration, you can use the Partner’s Pledge Form to get friends and family to add to your support of Sarge’s. Anyone collecting $20 or more in ‘team’ donations receives a free Sarge’s 11th Annual Downtown Dog Walk T-shirt, and there are additional prizes for teams collecting the most money. Official Sarge’s Downtown Dog Walk T-shirts will also be for sale at pre-registration and during the Dog Walk — $10 for children and $15 for adults.

If you can’t join Sarge’s the day of the Dog Walk, you are invited to sign up as a “virtual walker’ for $15, and a volunteer will walk with a foster dog for you.

For a donation of $100, I will ‘virtually walk’ a Sarge’s foster dog wearing skin-tight lederhosen,  and carrying a backpack full of dog treats. For a $200 donation, I will walk bare-foot over glowing charcoal dog treats. For a $500 donation, I will pull your pet (or child) in a Dog Walk wagon, colorfully decorated in crepe paper and embellished with (you guessed it) more dog treats, and I will eat a dog treat at the end of the parade. Just sayin.’

See y’all at Sarge’s Dog Walk.

Dog Walk participants are asked to mail registration forms by July 25 or preregister at the Sarge’s Adoption Center, 256 Industrial Park Dr., in Waynesville, between 1-6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 4.

For more information, call Sarge’s at 828-246-9050.