Pack Turns Out for Paws in the Park


The second annual Paws in the Park benefit for the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria and the Montgomery Park Improvement Project was a big hit with the canine crowd and owners alike last Saturday.  All shapes and sizes of dogs seemed to enjoy the activities from doga (yoga for dogs) classes and a Halloween costume parade to the blessing of the animals by the Reverend Mary Kay Brown of St. Pauls Church. 

Master of Ceremonies Jay Palermino welcomed everyone and their dogs, keeping them busy with various activities. Event chair and Rivers Edge Yoga owner Margaret Townsend got things rolling with doga, then trainer Carlos Mejias and dog owner Jill Shutt from the Old Town School for Dogs conducted an obedience demonstration. Their canine obedience performance inspired dog owners and left many in awe of what the trainers can do with simple voice or hand commands and no leashes. Two dogs responded to the various commands and even took two jumps with voice and hand commands despite the enthusiastic barking from a number of dogs playing and racing around the adjoining dog run.

Townsend was pleased with the dog and owner turnout as well as the support they received from the Cetacea Corporation, Pet Products and the Crowne Plaza Hotel across the street from Montgomery Park.  The dog run at Montgomery Park is quite small and needs enhancing because so many dog owners in this area use the run,” Townsend said.  “Hopefully we will raise enough with our part of the donations to Paws in the Park to make improvements for our dog park soon. She continued, saying that everyone involved in Paws in the Park is pleased that the Cetacea Corporation has been such a loyal sponsor of this event, not only monetarily but also with the pet gear they donated for the raffle.

All of the vendors donated a portion of the proceeds to the two causes.  Vendors ranged from pet products to Positive Pranas candles to pumpkin painting.  Author Patricia Palermino was on hand signing her newest childrens book The Doggie Tails of Alex and Andria in Alexandria.  Scottie dog toys decorated Palerminos cheery table of books. MRE Properties and New Target helped the cause through a financial contribution.

The portion of the proceeds we raised today that are going to be donated to the Animal Welfare League will be earmarked for our Sarahs Fund, said Tara Blot, AWLAs Executive Director. “Sarahs Fund is important because it allows us to care for animals with more extensive medicals needs.  With this fund, we can do things like treat heartworm and address significant orthopedic and dental needs that in many shelters are just not possible for financial reasons.

For additional information on the Montgomery Park Dog Run, email Margaret Townsend at