Story by Brooklyn Waggoner, Reporter
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Schoof
What do Queen Elizabeth II, Stephen King, and Betty White all have in common with a couple thousand people in a Grand Rapids park? I’ll give you a hint: they’re short, furry, and irresistibly adorable. If you’re still stumped, you probably didn’t make it to Riverside Park on Saturday, Oct. 29, when a few hundred corgis showed up for a PAWesome afternoon.
The second ever Corgis in the Park Event was a barking success, with a bit over a thousand guests, and more than 300 pooches, there wasn’t a dull moment. Originally designed as a fundraiser, the occasion included a fenced in area for Corgis of all ages to run free amongst their fans, as well as a Corgi costume contest, parade, and some booths featuring information, breeders, and pup-themed merchandise.
The event was organized by Corgi owner and enthusiast Jarl Brey, and sponsored by Chow Hound, and is also in honor and support of Paws with a Cause. The charity works to train service dogs for those with hearing and vision disabilities, as well as assistance dogs and seizure response dogs. Based in Wayland, MI, the organization manages the cost of training dogs and connecting them with applicants who pay nothing, even though the process can cost upwards of $30,000. It is truly an amazing organization, and what better way to bring attention to such a worthy cause, than drawing crowds of dog lovers to learn and love together?
It was clear that no one in attendance regretted the trip. Some Corgi owners traveled from as far as Southern Indiana to join in on the fun. I reached out to a few pooches for interviews, but upon discovering that I was not in possession of a tail to chase nor a suitable bark, most only stuck around long enough for a brief pet between the ears before bounding off to find a fellow furry friend. One pair, dressed as spaghetti and meatballs and a hot dog, respectively, had a delicious looking wrestling match, surrounded by a crowd of gleeful onlookers. Nothing makes people quite so happy as adorable puppies dressed like food having a jolly old time.
If you missed out on the event, worry not. Having grown exponentially from the previous year, there is bound to be a third Corgis in the Park next year, so keep an eye and ear out for it. You can even like the Corgis in the Park Facebook page to stay up to date on what it going on. Should you be interested in learning more about Paws with a Cause, you can visit the organization’s website: PawsWithACause.org. As a new Corgi lover, and long-time dog lover, I would encourage anyone who is able to donate to the charity to do so, as it is most definitely an upstanding organization.