2019 SPCA Walk for the Animals... Beautiful Moments & Lots of Love
Last month I had the pleasure of not only attending but also photographing the 2019 SPCA of Anne Arundel County Walk for the Animals. Approximately 2000 animal lovers from Annapolis and surrounding communities attended the Walk this year, along with their furriest friends, some decked out in fancy garb and others just being their own sweet and lovable selves.
Each year, the event basically takes over Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, MD and includes a Vendor Village (local businesses showcasing their goods and services) and the Cars & Critters Show (locals showing off their cool vintage, hot rod, and totally expensive cars.) People have the opportunity to walk, shop, learn, and in some cases dream with their faithful pups by their side experiencing the fun (and, of course, total sensory overload) right along with them.
This is one of my favorite events to photograph ...not just because of the support provided to the SPCA (it is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the shelter), but also because getting that opportunity to talk to people about their beloved pets is such a wonderful experience in more ways than I can describe. Why is the experience so amazing? Come on, who wouldn’t love spending half of a day getting to meet and pet so many adorable, fuzzy, lovable pups, right? However, the main reason it is such a valuable experience for me is because that deep and profound love we humans have for our pets is, to put it simply, magical…
There so many reasons why we hold such deep bonds with our furry companions... They always know how to make us smile and laugh, they accompany us on our many adventures, they cheer us up when we are down, they are the best cuddle buddies ever and, most importantly, they show us what unconditional and forever love really is. They are our best friends and loyal protectors and when they leave us, the pain we feel is unmeasurable.
Walking around, I heard numerous stories about how and when many of these beautiful pups and their humans found each other. For some who rescued animals with special needs, there were heart-warming stories of the challenges they faced, conquered, and (in some cases) still struggle with daily. I also heard gut wrenching, yet also bittersweet stories of loss experienced when beloved pets passed over the rainbow bridge. The one feeling that no one I spoke with expressed was regret. In the end, the unconditional love and companionship they received in return was unsurmountable and unforgettable.
One woman I spoke to who attended the event with one of her three dogs (a lab/hound mix she rescued from another local shelter) said “I can’t remember what my life was like before I rescued my first pup from a shelter back in 1992 and I wouldn’t want to. It’s hard watching them grow old and eventually losing them but, they fill my life with so much joy. They keep me young and feeling alive. Saying I love them so much just doesn’t feel like enough does it?!”
I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to hear so many lovely stories and that so many generous souls allowed me to photograph them, their pets, and in some cases their children. Experiencing that magical glow created by the love these folks feel for their pets is amazing and the love and support for the AA Co. SPCA and the animals they rescue and care for is inspiring.
You can see more Photos from the event on Facebook: