The Humane Society for Greater Savannah held its 17th annual Doggie Carnival on May 7 at Forsyth Park.
When thousands of four-legged doggies and their parents show up for everything from doggie derby and dog treat decorating to photo booths and doggie caricatures, you can bet a person with a camera is going to get tangled up in a web of leashes!
Arriving early, I cross Drayton Street and literally stop at a cross street to take in all the varieties of dogs trotting by me. The first person I see is the owner of CarSpa, Wendell Burns, with the two loves of his life, momma dog Coco and her son, Roscoe.
Never far from Wendell at his Barnard Street spa, where they have complete freedom to guard their dad, Wendell tells me, “I felt I had to do this for them. I washed and detailed them so they could enjoy an afternoon in the park.” While standing with him, a burly Great Dane named Blue eases over for a hello sniff and we meet his owners Katherine Kalima and Joseph St. Peter.
What follows next is a blur — After Blue meets Coco and Roscoe, he greets Theodore, a 9 week old Golden Retriever who is happy to pose with parents Berenice and Greg Balance. While chatting, I see photo-elusive Cathi Denham of Catnip ‘n’ Biscuits and her very tall poodle, Armani.
Today is my lucky day! Cathi and Armani pose for me as photographer Georgia Walters and her quiet husband John Toner wave me over. A fan of her spiked blue-streaked hair, I chat with the Humane Society volunteer about her PSA shoot, “Addiction: No Discrimination.”
Wishing I could talk longer, I attempt to leave my corner but am enthralled with my next furry friend, Wyatt Dumas, a 7-year-old bluetick coonhound. This is a real working dog! Similar to the generations of English pointers my daddy has raised since I was born, this dog is this real deal.
After posing his dad Nate with Andrea Manley and 14-year-old Rosie, I head to meet Holy City Popcorn’s Brad Weingartner with Jake, Carrie, Kate and Will Weston, pose tech dude Ian Sarb with his well-mannered pit bull Dogen before convincing The Hipster Hound crew to gather for a group pic.
Looking as beautiful as the Forsyth fountain she is standing in front of, Kinzie Collett of Jaded Media and her talented videographer/producer/editor boyfriend Cliff Reynolds win for the cutest dog of the day! Meet Dax, a 1 ½-year-old corgi that has her own Instagram handle: @corgi.dax.
Happy to pose the couple with Dax and their 8-year-old Pomeranian Rupert, we are chatting about “renovating their fairy tale house in Ardsley Park” when I see Diane Dodd attempt to sneak by my camera. Why is it that photographers hate having their photo taken?
After she poses “barking dog Bella” and laid-back Banjo with her husband Darrin and son Henry, Diana jets off into the growing crowd and I attempt to catch her but am engaged in a quick photo session with none other than Carriage Trade PR’s junior partner Cynthia Wright.
The local media queen looks petite next to her boyfriend Aaron Craddock but I still have to insist that the good-looking couple take a knee next to Oscar the Vizsla and “Lab-ish” Charlie. With a one-click perfect pic, I am off to sit with Ben & Jerry owners Chad and Meri Scribner.
A self-proclaimed non ice creamer lover, I eat my words when Chad hands me a scoop of Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz. What have I been missing? Watching their daughter Lexi and Jenna New serve Phish Food and Peanut Buttah Cookie Core, I glance over and see Savannah Theatre patriarch Mike Zaller feeding four kids in a stroller!
How this world-class performer has the energy to chauffeur Lucca, Kai, Constance and Hayden around makes him even more impressive. With plans to bring back “The Beat Goes On” this June and July and celebrating their 15th anniversary, I promise to catch a show before introducing him to Chad.
With close to 50 vendors spread out around the south end of the fountain, I track down Becca Bruni, HSGS director of development and marketing, for a quick quote.
“All the money raised today will help programs like our surrender and adoption, where over 2,200 pets were helped, our low-cost spay and neuter surgery, where 4,461 pets were fixed, and the Operation New Hope program, where 97 dogs graduated this past year,” shares the enthusiastic Augusta native.
Enamored with the eclectic blend of huskies, beagles, bulldogs and dachshunds, I leave the park happy for the supporters and dog owners and ecstatic that the dogs themselves have a day just to sniff, bark and socialize with their fellow furry friends!
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