Just as people like to socialize, dogs like to socialize too.
With that thought in mind, the first ''Mutt Strut'' was held in Jamestown on June 4, allowing dog owners to get together and walk their dogs together through downtown Jamestown. The next strut will be held this Saturday, and Chautauqua County Humane Society board member Jade Barber plans to continue hosting the biweekly events as long as local residents are interested in bringing their dogs out.
Dogs are naturally social creatures, Mrs. Barber said, so the chance to meet and greet with others is valuable for them.
Jade Barber, right, a board member at the Chautauqua County Humane Society, has organized biweekly ‘‘Mutt Struts’’ in downtown Jamestown, with the next to be held Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. at Baker Park. Mrs. Barber is seen here with her husband, Dave; mother-in-law, Kathy; and niece, Gracie, walking dogs Guinness and Willy.
''Having this opportunity to really get them out there and socialize is a good experience for the dogs and their owners,'' she said. ''Something like this is a great outlet where dogs can meet each other and get together. They all wag tails and sniff each other and want to play at first, but then they calm down and get in a groove and are happy as clams to just walk along and enjoy the walking for the walking.''
As Jamestown does not have a dog park, opportunities for dog owners to take their pet out and get together with other canines and their owners are few and far between. Mrs. Barber said that through conversation with Sue Bobek, community relations coordinator for the Humane Society, the idea for the regular dog-walking group was born.
The strut begins at Baker Park and takes a circuitous route through the city, with a stop at a downtown establishment planned to allow the humans a chance to pick up a snack or a drink if they desire. The June 4 event stopped by Cooper's Cyber Cafe and Deli - an appropriate location, Mrs. Barber said, as it is named after a dog - and this Saturday's walk is planned to visit the Labyrinth Press Company.
A handful of participants took part in the first strut, which was advertised through word-of-mouth. Mrs. Barber said she is hopeful that as more people become aware of the group, it could grow to become more regular than biweekly - or it could sprout offshoot groups.
''It could be every week, it could be every day ... or maybe we have a group who lives on the west side of the city that wants to walk on Wednesday nights,'' she said. ''It's just about bringing people together who have a common interest of meeting other people in the community, meeting other dogs, and getting out there enjoying the weather.''
And while summertime is a great time to get outside and take the dog for a walk, Mrs. Barber reminds people that dogs need exercise all year - so she is hopeful that the dog-walking group will continue to be fruitful long after the weather turns sour.
''If we can get a group going now, hopefully it will encourage people to keep active through the winter,'' she said. ''That's an important thing we want to stress - dogs really need to be walked, it's in their nature.''
Most dogs need two half-hour walks each day to remain at top health, Mrs. Barber said.
''Does everybody get out there and do that? There probably aren't a lot who do,'' she said. ''If we can start getting people to do this, you're going to see better behavior in your dog, too.''
Anyone interested in participating in the next walk is welcome to bring their dog to Baker Park, at the corner of Jefferson and West Fourth streets, at 11 a.m. Saturday. Dogs must be friendly, leashed and up-to-date on all vaccines. Owners will also be expected to bring bags to clean up after their pets. The walk will be held rain or shine.
Mrs. Barber said owners should use their own discretion as to whether their dog will be able to handle the excitement of the strut. However, she said, for people whose dogs have a lot of energy, they may be surprised with how it reacts.
''If your dog is hyper and you want to get some of that energy out, this is a great experience,'' she said. ''My dog was wiped out after our last walk, just because he was so excited to meet other dogs and go for a walk.''
For more information about future ''Mutt Struts,'' contact Sue Bobek at the Humane Society by calling 665-2209, ext. 212.
Other area happenings include:
What: 5K Anew Run and Walk
When: Saturday 7:30 to 9 a.m.,
registration; race begins at 9:30 a.m.
Where: Salvation Army Anew Center, 83 S. Main St.
Proceeds benefit the Salvation Army Anew Center's domestic violence and rape crisis programs. This family-friendly event for participants of all ages is rain or shine. T-shirts will be available for early registrants.
For more information, call 661-3894.
* .3 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: Audubon Center and Sanctuary's Secret Gardens Tour
When: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: five residential gardensin Jamestown, Frewsburg, Kennedy and Sinclairville
Cost: $10, presale; $12, day of event
For more information, call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.
* various miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: "A Night Of Fun" Hospital Hoedown
When: 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday
Where: Betts Park, Warren
Cost: $30, presale; $35, at door
For more information, call 814-723-4973 extension 2022.
* 21.5 miles from downtown Jamestown.