A Parade of Pups in Portland
With a passion for pups and a mission to effect positive social change, Walden University PhD in Psychology faculty member Dr. Lynde Paule founded the Corgi Walk in the Pearl in 2007. The annual event raises awareness and funding for organizations that help care for injured, abused, abandoned, or neglected dogs. As part of the Portland, Oregon-based event, Dr. Paule oversees volunteers from the Oregon Humane Society and Corgi Rescue.
Over the past 12 years, the Corgi Walk in the Pearl has grown significantly. The first event raised $1,500 with approximately 50 dogs participating in the walk. Last year’s event drew more than 350 Corgis from Oregon, Washington and California, and it raised over $12,000 from donations and sponsors. To date, the Corgi Walk in the Pearl has raised more than $100,000.
“At 60 years old, I decided to pay it forward,” recalls the dog fancier. “I wanted to craft a venue to raise money that created a wonderful opportunity for the larger community to become involved in helping dogs, specifically Corgis.”
There are Corgi events throughout the country, including the annual Corgi Beach Day at the Huntington Dog Beach in California, a Corgi race in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Fort Collins, Colorado-based Tour de Corgi. While some gatherings are simple celebrations of the increasingly popular breed, others, like Dr. Paule’s walk, also help to save and protect corgis.
“I love Corgis and knew there were others out there like me, but, in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined the amount of interest and support we’ve received over the years,” says Dr. Paule.
The fun and interactive walk is approximately 1.2 miles in length and consists of a leisurely stroll along many streets in Portland’s Pearl District. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete the walk, depending on how fast owners and their dogs wish to walk. There are both dog and human hydration stations along the way that provide socialization opportunities.
The Corgi celebration, however, does not end there. Dr. Paule began a Corgi Fashion Show two years ago that takes place immediately following the event after she saw how participants dressed their dogs for the walk. She enlisted the help of local photographers to capture the spirit of the Corgis throughout the day. The photos are used to create a 12-month calendar for purchase in local stores, with proceeds going to help fund future events.
In addition to the annual event, Dr. Paule oversees Corgi play groups and has been known to take her Corgi, Jake, over to the local college to help students center themselves in preparation for finals. The American Kennel Club notes a rise in universities using animal-assisted stress reduction programs to help improve mental health. In a recent study, therapy dog sessions were found to have a strong immediate benefit for students, with them reporting significant increases in happiness and energy levels and reduced stress right after the sessions.
“Corgis are really smart and responsive to people,” says Dr. Paule. “Having a dog can help reduce anxiety, and Corgis are just super special in that way.”