Central New York is Going to the Dogs ... in a Good Way

May 28, 2014

Four-legged Chiefs fan
  My dear wife Karen and I took our beloved rescue mutt Ellie B, aka Dogamous Pyle, to NBT Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

The Syracuse Chiefs threw a successful edition of Bark in the Park. In the seventh inning of the Chiefs' 4-1 victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox, first-year Chiefs general manager Jason Smorol stopped by in one of the right-field sections they'd set aside for dogs and owners to say hello.

Before the game, Smorol had firm hold of a leash in one hand and a microphone in another as he stood on the edge of the infield helping MC the parade of canines and their happy owners wind down the stairs on the third-base side, past the Chiefs dugout, across the dirt past home plate, past the PawSox dugout, and back up the stairs to the dog-friendly stands.

Credit Mark Bialczak

Smorol was in good humor as he watched the dogs go by, as you might expect from a native New Yorker who lives in Liverpool with his wife, children, and three dogs, two of them rescues.

Just a couple dogs did what dogs will do down there on the field, Smorol told Karen and I with a smile as the game wound down on the pleasant late spring evening. And his was the first. He added that 188 dogs had joined their owners to attend the Triple A baseball game. 

There was more to the night than parades and the special blue doggie bandanas handed to owners for each dog they brought through the gate.

Puppy Parade!
Credit Mark Bialczak

The concourse was dotted with tables staffed with representatives from the growing number of  organizations in Central New York whose mission it is to match dogs without a home to those who wish to provide a roof and love.

A Google search finds more than a dozen, big and small.

Some volunteers were walking dogs that need a home around the concourse wearing vests that read, simply, "Adopt Me." Volunteers are very good at this sort of thing. Take a ride to Shoppingtown in DeWitt, and look at the parking lot outside Helping Hounds, on the Sears side of the center. It's often filled with volunteers making sure dogs are receiving attention and exercise. 

Three years ago this month, Karen and I attended the Paws for a Cause event at Driver's Village in Cicero.

The folks from the Rome Humane Society had a pup by the name of Ellie wearing a blaze orange Adopt Me vest. She jumped up on Karen and I. We'd lost our first rescue mutt, Lissa, at the age of 15 two years before that trip to Paws for a Cause. Karen filled out the papers that day, Ellie got spayed in Rome two days later, and it's been a series of adventures in Eastwood ever since.

On Memorial Day, I again coaxed Ellie B into the back of Karen's car, and off we drove to Manlius, where we joined the doggie brigade to represent the Dog Gone Inn Doggie Day Care in the parade. Owner Leah takes good care of Ellie B when we treat our mutt to bath and nail  spa days, and when we need to board her. 

Credit Mark Bialczak

A couple dozen dogs and owners are glad to march behind Leah's banner in Manlius. Rescue organizations bring dogs in need of a home, too, and it's a well-behaved bunch.

The children lining the curb are delighted at the sight of a group of leashed dogs happily walking together during a parade.

The dogs all look pretty darn happy, too.

If you'd like to take a one-stop trip to investigate whether you'd like to adopt a dog, the fifth annual Canine Carnival hosted by the Priscilla Mahar Animal Welfare Association is scheduled for Aug. 9 at the New York State Fairgrounds. Nearly100 rescue organizations, vendors and groups participated in last year's event at Long Branch Park, and about 15,000 people attended, according to the event's web site. That allowed a donation of more than than $31,000 to more than 40 CNY animal rescue organizations. 

Have you ever owned a rescue dog? Have you ever brought your dog to a dog-themed social event? Will you bring your dog to an event like this in the future? Would you like to adopt a rescue dogs?