Two paws up for Mutt Strut

Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2019

There are some events that I look forward to covering for the Suffolk News-Herald every year, and one of them just happened on Sunday — with all the loveable dogs I could ask for in an afternoon.

The Suffolk Humane Society’s 11th annual Mutt Strut was a smashing success by the looks of it. The skies were clear and the day was hot. The Deloreans rocked on stage as vendors showed off different pet-friendly services and products.

There were hundreds of people with mutts of all sizes, and all of them had their tongues hanging out, eager to take a drink of water from one of the many “Water Stops” or just dive right into one to cool off. I tried to get some comments from these canines, but they were very bark-shy on camera.

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Their owners, however, were more than willing to talk about their wonderful dogs. Like Hoss, a 10-week-old black Lab puppy that wanted to wiggle his way out of his owner Brittany Ellis’s arms and get back to sniffing anything and everything.

Or Coco, a 12-year-old chocolate Lab with Tawny Humphrey, a licensed veterinary technician for the COVE in Suffolk. Coco reminded me of the Labrador I had growing up, and this old girl was just as easy-going and laid back in her later years.

There were dogs as huge as Great Danes and as short and stocky as Corgis. Some were in costumes with Halloween fast approaching. Others were plenty goofy even without the Halloween getups.

But I’m a dog guy, and all of them were delightful.

There were even a few surprises courtesy of VIPER, which stands for Virginians Interested in Protecting Every Reptile. Members showed me some of their scaly guests that they brought to the event, including a bearded dragon, a turtle and a very, very small crocodile called a dwarf caiman.

But the red-tailed boa wrapped around Bethany Calhoun stole the show for me. She estimated that the snake was between 30 to 40 pounds and 5 to 6 feet in length. The snake moved ever-so-slowly and was a cool sight.

I even got a surprise when I spotted some more hidden snakes, wrapped around the bars inside the VIPER tent. They like the shade, and frankly, in that heat, I can’t blame them.

Congratulations to the Suffolk Humane Society and all of its partners for another successful Mutt Strut, for all the pet owners and their very pleased dogs, and for the people of VIPER for giving me another chance to see some very cool reptiles.