Metro Weekly

The Washington Humane Society throws a Pet-a-Palooza

The Washington Humane Society invites all pets and pet lovers to show their pride

Pet-a-Palooza Photo by Laura Small

Pet-a-Palooza 2013 | Photo: Laura Small / Courtesy Humane Society of Washington

Ever been to Pet-A-Palooza and the DC Walk for the Animals? If you haven’t even heard of these back-to-back annual community events, yet consider yourself an animal lover and a pet person — well, chances are the Washington Humane Society’s ChristieLyn Diller can persuade you of the rightness of giving up part of your day this Saturday, Sept. 27. In fact, in a conversation with Diller, you can’t help but think of the event, taking place on the grounds of the school the Kingsbury Center, near the Carter-Barron Amphitheater in upper Northwest, as a kind of Pet Pride.

“This is our large community event that we do every year,” Diller explains. “A lot of different community partners and vendors giving out free things and information. The DC Department of Health will be there doing free vaccinations for dogs and dog licensing. It’s just a whole lot of resources that are going to be available, in addition to just being a fun day to spend with your dogs. And you get to meet other animal lovers and support a good cause.”

Pet-a-Palooza Photo by Laura Small

Pet-a-Palooza 2013 | Photo: Laura Small / Courtesy Humane Society of Washington

The specific cause, of course, is the Washington Humane Society, which Diller describes as an “all-encompassing animal welfare organization.”

Says Diller, “We operate so many programs that benefit animals and residents, and this event is a great way to celebrate all that we do. And for people to learn more about what we do.”

This pet pride event even launches with a parade of sorts, the 2014 DC Walk for the Animals. Kicking off at 10 a.m., the walk is the chief fundraising part of the day. “We’re hoping to raise $100,000, and that all goes to support the work that we do for D.C. animals,” Diller says. “It’s like this parade of dogs and people going through the neighborhood, in support of what we do.” This year the walk will even have its first grand marshal, a past adopter with the organization to be chosen among those who registered. “So that person and that dog will be kicking off the walk, and they’re going to have a crown and a cape. It’s going to be ridiculous and fun.”

What else after the parade but a festival? “After the walk we just kind of hang out,” Diller explains. “I like to say it’s a field day for dogs.” Obviously you don’t have to have a dog to attend Pet-A-Palooza — and W.H.S.’s mobile adoption vehicle Adopt Force One will be on site with some dogs and cats available for adoption. But one of Diller’s favorite aspects is the sense of reunion it offers.

“One of the things that I love the most about this event is that so many people bring their pets that they have adopted from us, so it’s this great opportunity to get to visit with them.” What about that cat you adopted from W.H.S.? “We just ask people not to bring other pets because we can’t guarantee how safe that will be,” Diller cautions. “We will have cats and maybe some other small animals on the adoption vehicle, but it’s hard for people to bring those animals to the event.”

And you can definitely expect to meet some proud former pound puppies. “We give out ‘I Was Adopted’ bandanas,” Diller says, “and it’s fun to see all the dogs that have been adopted come over and get them. And they’re like so proud walking around with their little flag.” There will also be opportunities to make dog and cat toys for some of the animals being cared for by WHS.

Reporters Scott Thuman from ABC7 and Lauren DeMarco from FOX5 serve as the day’s masters of ceremonies. And syndicated cartoonist Brian Basset, whose Red and Rover comic strip about a boy and his dog will be on hand too. There will be various activities and contests for both children and dogs. “We like to say it’s fun for your two- and four-footed friends,” Diller jokes.

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But Diller makes her best pitch yet in summing up why you should attend this D.C. pet pride festival. “You can meet a lot of pet-friendly businesses and our partners out there. If anyone wants to know more about who in D.C. cares about animals, and who would be a good resource, whether it’s a veterinarian or pet motel or a new pet supply store — it’s great to be able to have this in one spot.”

Pet-A-Palooza and DC Walk for the Animals takes place Saturday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kingsbury Center, 5000 14th St. NW. Free to attend, or $20 to register as a walker. Call 202-683-1822 or visit

Pet-a-Palooza Photo by Laura Small

Pet-a-Palooza 2013 | Photo: Laura Small / Courtesy Humane Society of Washington

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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