‘Doggy Day Out’ deemed a success

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It was a beautiful day for a ride on the Double-Decker Bus, and who better to ride with than nine dogs and their handlers?Nine Collierville Animal Shelter (CAS) canines of varying age and origin hopped aboard the Town’s iconic red bus on Sept. 18 and took a tour around to a few people hotspots – Carriage Crossing Mall and Town Hall – before heading to the dog hot spots – the ball fields at Cox Park and the boardwalk at Johnson Park.

Each dog was escorted by a human shelter employee or volunteer.

The outing started by driving through the parking lot at Carriage Crossing Mall, just in case anyone out shopping was looking for a shopping savvy canine companion. Dwight Richardson, who works full time for the Town’s Public Services Department, drove the bus, and in the windows that filed behind his were faces of both humans and dogs

CAS staff member Stephanie Pleasants headed up the tour and she also took on Eddie, a boxer mix who was strong enough to nearly pull Pleasants from one spot to another, with or without a bus. Employee Austin Preuett buddied up with Brutus, an American Bully mix.

Employee Katie Campbell led Jolene, a border collie mix who Katie said generally didn’t get along with any of the other dogs back at the shelter. But something about the fresh air and the wide open spaces brought out the best in all the dogs, and ones that generally don’t mingle within the shelter were mingling and playing and enjoying each other’s company.

“They’re different when they get outside the shelter,” said Sandy Kraemer, a longtime employee of the shelter who was escorting tiny Pip for the tour.

Pip is a Chihuahua mix and was the smallest dog on the bus. He loved the fresh air and strenuous activity, but as the smallest dog, was the first to start showing signs of being worn out.

Indeed, all of the dogs were a little tuckered out by the time the third leg of the tour, a walk around the Johnson Park boardwalk, was over.

The walk was pleasant and shaded, and there were frequent stops to sniff or lick passersby, but the trail is over a mile and several of the dogs had already been entertained on the Town Hall front lawn by Town employees, as well as running the bases at the Cox Park ball fields. You’d better believe they were tired.

As were their humans. But Pleasants was pleased with how the day had gone and said they would more than likely plan another “Doggy Day Out” in the future. The next time they may visit a Town office other than Town Hall so as to spread out the puppy love, or they may go totally rogue and visit a private business. Either way, they will spread a little joy wherever they go, and give the pups a reprieve from shelter life until that day when they meet their forever humans.