Story by Abi Safago, Reporter
Photos provided by Brenda Paynter and Jessica Mich
Corgis in the Park is an event that every dog lover in West Michigan looks forward to. Rain or shine, people come from miles around just to see some of the cutest four-legged friends.
Participants reported being from Okemos, Green Bay, Detroit, and even Sault Ste. Marie! There was also a pair of corgis from Windsor, Canada, that came to participate in this incredible event.
The event was started by J. Joseph Brey, who has his own corgi, Vixen. He explained that it just started as a way to bring people happiness.
“Have you ever seen anyone surrounded by dogs? They’re always happy. I thought that this event would be a good way to bring people together—to make people smile,” Brey said. “I wanted something for people that was just for a good time. No politics, no ‘picking a side’, just joy. That’s always been the goal here.”
It’s an amazing goal. It’s brought the best of our community out to celebrate man’s best friend.
While it’s fun for people, it’s even better for the dogs! It gives a lot of dogs the opportunity for bonding with their owners. One dog, Breece, has been in and out of the ICU for surgeries recently. Dressing up as a scuba diver for the costume contest definitely helped with making his gear look casual.
This little event that started out in a park in the fall a few years ago has now gone on to be marked on people’s calendars annually. It’s an opportunity for fun, but it also brings awareness to some great causes.
One of the main goals of this event now is also to bring donations for Paws with a Cause. This organization assists and trains service dogs for people with disabilities. Each dog gets trained to fit the needs of their owners.
Nearly all of the donations go directly to this foundation, so you know that what you put in does truly help others.
Corgis in the Park has also put on events at other times during the year. It may sound out of place to have a gathering somewhere other than Riverside Park, but get this—Corgis on ice.
As of this past year, there have been a few events that these pups and their families hosted. One of the most significant was an event at the Van Andel Arena for a Griffins game.
“The first time we did this, the seats sold out really quickly. It was incredible. It was also just fun to see all these corgis and dogs taking up seats normally taken up by their companion fans,” Brey said.
Other than meeting the great players of Grand Rapids, the group went on to be a part of a parade (with many of our little friends dressed up in theme with the holidays) to continue to raise awareness for Paws with a Cause as well as to make people smile.
There have also been some really great summer events as well. They’ve hosted events at pubs in West Michigan and also on the patio area at Woodland Mall for Corgis and Cocktails. Even if you weren’t there to drink, there were some really awesome dogs with outfits matching the scene.
While the main event is over this fall, there’s plenty more to look forward to attending. At the moment, the only event planned for the rest of 2019 you can look forward to seeing is “Corgis on Parade”, on November 23.
However, if you keep up with the Facebook page, you can see all the shenanigans that Brey and Vixen are up to.