Arts and Entertainment

Wag ’n‘ Walk welcomes folks in search of a dog and general dog lovers to the Greenbank event

Merritt Atwood of Freeland plays with her dogs Milton (left) and Nelson. Both dogs were adopted from WAIF recently and are eligible to be in the King and Queen dog contest at Wag ’n‘ Walk this year - Samantha O’Brochta / The Record
Merritt Atwood of Freeland plays with her dogs Milton (left) and Nelson. Both dogs were adopted from WAIF recently and are eligible to be in the King and Queen dog contest at Wag ’n‘ Walk this year
— image credit: Samantha O’Brochta / The Record

It may be a dog’s life most days, but life is never “ruff” at Whidbey Island’s annual Wag ’n‘ Walk.

Thanks to the folks at the Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, the Wag ’n‘ Walk is celebrating its 10th year of dogged devotion to homeless pups. This free event for families and their dogs at Greenbank Farm is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22.

Joining WAIF this year as a sponsor is FETCH! (Free Exercise Time for Canines and their Humans), a nonprofit that supports and helps to maintain Whidbey Island’s off-leash parks for dogs.

Wag ’n‘ Walk is a fun day for the community to come and enjoy being among plenty of playful pooches.

One doesn’t have to be a puppy to enjoy a day out with the dogs, though, because the fun is for all ages, shapes and breeds.

Event organizer Merritt Atwood said there will be plenty of games and demonstrations in the main arena this year.

“It’s going to be bigger and more fun,” Atwood said.

Participants will be bow-wowed with demonstrations by Washington State Patrol search dogs, the dogs of Wish ’n‘ Wells Canine Agility group and the Olympic Disc Dogs Frisbee group.

“Then there are the doggie games,” Atwood said.

Fido and friends can participate in contests such as the “waggingest tail,” the “talkingest dog” and a water relay.

Event sponsor Deborah Jones said several dogs present will be available for adoption.

“We’ll be walking around with [the dogs], so if people see one that they like, they can apply to adopt them,” Jones said.

WAIF has many dogs that need loving homes, so this is a great opportunity to showcase them, she said.

WAIF houses dogs and cats who are strays, or who are left behind when their families have moved, or for other reasons. Adoption centers in Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Freeland give shelter to animals who are awaiting homes.

Dogs have a tougher time getting adopted compared to the cats at WAIF, organizers said, so the event gives them good exposure and a better chance to find a family.

It also gives them the chance to show the crowd how royally cute they can be.

Each year, the big feature at the Wag ’n‘ Walk event is the competition for the crowning of the King and Queen dogs for the day. Dog owners who have adopted dogs from WAIF can write a short success story about their new pets, and the public will be able to read the stories at the event and vote for the top male and female dog. The contest aims to reveal the happy endings of WAIF-adopted dogs and the families who took them in, Jones said.

Participants can also fetch some great prizes at the event by entering the door prize contest, which offers a weekend getaway at the Canterbury Inn (a dog-friendly hotel), and four tickets to a Seattle Mariners game.

In addition, dog lovers can lap up a bit of luxury by bringing in one can or bag of dog or cat chow, and receive a raffle ticket for each donation. Raffle tickets can also be purchased at Wag ’n‘ Walk. The winner will receive a getaway weekend at the W Hotel in Seattle.

Owners are asked to keep dogs on leashes for the event, and to clean up after their canine friends. No dogs in heat, young puppies, or aggressive canines are allowed.

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