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Walking the Dog To Draw Attention To A Cause

pupcrawlBy Jennifer 8. Lee for The New York Times

If you missed Craft Beer Week’s pub crawl (also known as the Path of Yeast Resistance), you can still make it to Saturday’s Pup Crawl — a pet-accompanied march across the Brooklyn Bridge intended to bring attention to the dogs and cats at risk of losing their homes because of the economy.

An estimated 500,000 to one million pets may lose their homes because of foreclosures, according to an estimate put out by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

An evening news report about that figure inspired Joseph Hassan, a 29-year-old Williamsburg resident, to organize a march. “That was the impetus,” he said. He was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge one afternoon when he imagined the attention pets would get simply by marching across the New York landmark. “If we could get people to pay attention nationally, we could reach a lot of those pets.”

Of course, other marches have drawn attention to causes, notably the 1963 March on Washington, though not all in a good way. A 1929 march down Fifth Avenue was a breakthrough for encouraging women to smoke.

Mr. Hassan said his ideal outcome for this event would be to help a family who were forced to give up their pet readopt it when they weathered the storm. In the middle, the pet could stay in a no-kill shelter or with a “foster owner.” But to do that, the pet shelters need additional funds. Shelters are being overwhelmed by the surge in pets at the same time their sources of money are drying up. “They are hit doubly hard,” Mr. Hassan said.

As for money, so far $1,000 has already been donated to three shelters — in New York, Los Angeles and Florida — through the Pup Crawl Web site.

He originally envisioned 30 to 50 dogs taking part in the march. Now he said there were at least 150 dogs registered — and counting. Pet-related sponsors have hopped on the animal crusade, including the Iams pet food company, The Bark magazine, and Lulu Leash, which sells leashes with LEDs.

He currently has 80 boxes of pet food in his apartment that arrived by delivery truck last week. His roommate was taken by surprise, he said: “The look on her face was just priceless. She looked a little bit shell-shocked.”

The walk will take place Saturday, with pets and owners gathering at City Hall Park around 5:30 p.m. The walk, which officially begins at 7 p.m., will be a round trip across the bridge and back.

City Room asked Mr. Hassan what kind of dog he owned that he would be taking to the walk. He admitted he did not have one. His landlord prohibits pets.

“We really want a dog,” he said. “I am really hopeful that after this, that he will understand how important it is to us and he will change his tune.” Meanwhile, he will be walking with a chocolate Labrador puppy that his roommate’s sister just adopted from a shelter. The dog, who is from Albany, is secretly staying over Friday night, he said.

“He hasn’t been named yet,” he said. “So if anyone has any suggestions, we’re open.”

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Amanda
Amanda
11 years ago

We need something like this in Philly! I'm going to search for one..

Amanda
Amanda
11 years ago

We need something like this in Philly! I'm going to search for one..

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