by Katherine Renton
Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Great Danes, German Shepherds, American Bullys, Jack Russel terriers and a Cockapoo were some of the dog breeds that gathered at a “dog lime” on the weekend.
At the entrance to the Arnos Vale sports complex on the evening of Sunday, October 2 dogs stood with their owners taking in the sights of other different sized and shaped canines.
The free of charge initiative of 784paws had a simple goal: have fun and socialize your dogs.
“In St Vincent we don’t have dog parks, we don’t have cat cafés – there is no space for the dog community and I felt like I needed that space for my dogs,” said “dog mom” extraordinaire and founder of 784paws, Kim Crozier.
She created a space on social media for the lovable pets, and the Instagram account, normally used for documenting her dogs of which she has at least 10, expanded to include pictures of dogs sent to her by others.
“…And one thing led to another and here we are, creating a space for dog owners,” she said.
While gatherings such as this in the dog community have been ongoing for some time, 784paws began their contribution to doggy socialization in 2021 with a “dog walk” event on the tarmac of the decommissioned airport.
This year they advertised a “Family Evening and Dog Lime” on social media. Calls were made to the Kennels, the Kennel club and the tight knit pet owner community to get persons to come out.
Crozier said it was important to create a space because, “There was nothing for dog owners. And there are lots of people that love their dogs but their dogs never get to leave home and when our dogs never leave home they’re never socialised. So they become aggressive, and not fit for everybody. So I’m trying to create a space where we can bring our dogs to play with each other – basically a doggy community,” she explained.
“Make friends with each other, so that we don’t have these crazy Pit bull fights that you always hear about, so that we don’t have dogs killing each other. I’m very much against that. I’m hoping to decrease it. I know I’ll never totally eliminate it. But to decrease it,” she said.
The three year old business supplies products such as: collars, worming tablets, toys, muzzles, fish oil, growth supplements and various soaps. These were on display at special prices for the day.
Perhaps the youngest dog owner on the scene was nine-year-old pit bull enthusiast Zachary Creese, who was sitting beside his four month old pup.
He shared that he likes animals, “They are playful and helpful at some times.”
His excitement for the “lime” came from the fact that he wanted to see other dogs.
The youngster also described the atmosphere as good “because I get to be here and chill with my dog.”
Creese happened to be near to a group of other ‘Pitties’ such as ‘Ice’, owned by Marvin Pierre of Glen.
“They ain no different than any other dogs. Discipline them and they’re loyal and nice like as any other dogs,” Pierre commented.
The Glen resident who has attended similar events before noted “as a dog person you done know where the dog fun is, I’ll be there.”
His message to other Vincentians was, “Sometimes instead of you being stray and doing stupid things, you could get a dog, tek care of it, get a responsibility, treat it good and love it, and it go love you.”
One of the smaller pups present, which made up for size with a big personality, was Cockapoo ‘Nick Fury’ named after the Avengers hero.
Suitably decked out for the occasion, the mix between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle was out with Patrice Jones and her son Jamario.
Jones explained that “Fury is an only dog and he doesn’t get a lot of socialisation and so I thought this would be a good way to introduce him to other dogs.”
She explained that it was the first dog gathering event they attended here.
“I got the flyer in my Instagram messages from someone else who saw it. So I didn’t know about the group itself so once they sent me the message I was like, okay we definitely have to try it,” she said.
“If this is the first time having an event like this then it’s okay. I guess it would take a while or a few events to know what the community needs or what would be nice,” Jones commented.
She said that some agility stations “would be good”, and “maybe even” a dog trainer to give tips on safely managing different breeds.
Also in attendance were some of the oldest dog
breeders in the game who have also hosted shows: Frank Drakes of Ratho Mill and Richard Browne from Arnos Vale.
Drakes spoke to SEARCHLIGHT while with his protective all-black German Shepherd ‘Ruma’, while Browne was next to his Great Dane/Rottweiler mix ‘Pep’.
“I always interested in dog from age 15, 1962, I started with my first dog, it was a mix German Shepherd with ordinary pot hound,” Drakes said.
“From then, 62 to today, present day today, I’m always with dogs. I do a lot of cross-breeding, I crossed nine different breed during the 60 years, and I had like 12 different breed of dogs during the 60 years of my dog life,” Drakes explained.
Asked what he thinks is the importance of the “dog lime” the canine enthusiast mused, “What I think this will do, it will sensitise people and get people interested in dogs.”
He noted, “I would like to see a wide range of different breeds, other than just – if you look around you see more Bully and Pitbulls, whereas the other protective dogs and so forth you don’t see them around.”
He acknowledged that the younger persons like those breeds, and that is their take on it.
In general, he believes it is a good thing to own a dog.
“It’s useful today because of the crime situation. Most people should have a dog…” he said, “…get a protective dog, a dog you can trust, a dog you can leave home and feel safe.”
Drakes’s friend, Browne explained that shows are nice to attend.
Everyone comes out with their animals and you see different kinds, he said.
“So they does be very nice. So every time they have a new show or lime I come out and interact with everybody.”