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22 May 2004

It's walkathon time!

Yes, everyone loves walkathons. Except me. I think it's the combination of altruism and exercise that I loathe. Nonetheless, with my wife away for the weekend on a scuba diving expedition in North Carolina, I could do what I usually do when she's away (gorge myself on Oreos and Cool Whip and cry myself to sleep each night) or actually voluntarily bring myself into contact with other people, which I'm pretty sure some French dude once accurately described as "hell". But what to do? Hey, the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA was running its "Walk 'fur' Paws"! (Motto: If the walkathon doesn't make you vomit, our unnecessarily cutesy name for it will!) So I strapped the Gentle Leader on Monty and away we went...

Raising funds was rather easy ("You're actually going to walk 3 miles? That entertainment's cheap at twice the price!") Turnout was decent, and lots of lovable pooches. A friendly, sweet pit bull jumped on me and almost knocked me to the ground; I chuckled as I patted her head, noting that she could crush my bones easily with her mighty jaws were she not just a sweet li'l puddin'.

The walk got started half an hour early due to the turnout, thank heavens, because once the Charlottesville sun peeked out over the rooftops it got hot, quickly. Halfway through the route I was hurting, which was fine 'cause I'm a lazy bastard, but the dogs weren't faring so well. The vanguard seemed to make an executive decision to cut the route short (doubling back from the Sam's Club parking lot instead of walking around the building) while Monty, who was being Mr. Picky at the start of the walk and didn't even touch the communal bowls, had no such compulsion drinking at the pit stop, dog slobber be damned. Fact was, the planners did a good job providing clean water, but the heat was really getting to the dogs that one pit stop for the walk might not have been enough. Monty and I stopped by a Sam's Club truck, the shadow of which seemed to be serving as an emergency station for black-haired dogs, who were panting heavily as their owners coddled and cajoled them to go the last quarter-mile to the end.

As we arrived at the finish, a giant yellow school bus was waiting to take everyone back to the parking lot. I was questioning the logic of putting 30 dogs and their owners on a school bus, but as it turned out, it was my fondest memory of the trip, as everyone was sitting quietly in their seats with their dogs panting either sitting on the seat next to them or on the floor. Someone noted that riding the school bus in real life would have been a lot nicer were we able to bring our dogs, and it was hard to disagree then.

Well, I got a T-shirt, Monty got a bag chock-full of treats and a lot of attention, and we raised $70 for the CASPCA. We earned our weekend; Monty has been relaxed all day and hopefully will sleep like a baby. And if you'll excuse me, there's a bag of Oreos with my name on it...

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