There are a lot of pet lovers in the Leavenworth area, and about 90 or so showed up one recent Sunday morning to do the Wagga Wagga Wiggle Waggle to benefit the nonprofit spay and neuter clinic known as HOPE, located at the Kansas Country Store.
Although it's a nonprofit, that doesn't mean there are not significant costs to operating this service for our area.
HOPE stands for Help Overpopulation of Pets Economically, and the idea is to fix dogs and cats so they don't breed unnecessary numbers of unwanted little dogs and cats.
The service these kinds of clinics provide is valuable even to those who do not have pets because taxpayers have to pay for pet shelters and everything associated with unwanted dogs and cats.
Limiting their numbers by preventing unwanted breeding saves all of us money.
It also makes it safer for walkers and bicycle riders to not have unwanted dogs running the streets and county roads. I remember how in Monterey there were fairly large packs of feral dogs that roamed the town and sometimes attacked or at least really bothered people when they walked down the streets.
Many areas near and on military reservations have historically had a problem with feral dog packs that endanger those of us who work or play in the outdoors.
The usual answer is to go out and shoot the feral dogs.  
These clinics offer a better solution both for people and for dogs.
Actually, I was a bit surprised to discover there were about 90 walkers who registered for the event because there was not much advertisement that went out in advance.
In many regards, this event has the chance to really grow into something pretty big. The plan is to do the Wagga Wagga Wiggle Waggle twice per year, so keep an eye open for the next one sometime this fall.
In the meantime, you can support the effort by visiting the Kansas Country Store or by shopping in the relatively new thrift/gift shop just a block east of Santa Fe Restaurant.
I can never remember the exact name, but it is something like Every Era. I wrote about it once before and it's truly a great place to find interesting things.
Some are old and there is plenty of new stuff, too.
I have no idea why the 20th Street sidewalk is not used more often for walking and running events because it is a perfect 10K distance and it has plenty of challenging hills.
This event is not sanctioned or chip-timed, so it's strictly a fun walk/run and people can and do bring their dogs for the walk. I think the dogs enjoyed the walk and socializing as much as their owners.
One the beauties of this event is that you do not have to go the entire six-mile distance. You can just walk to the top of the hill and back and that is about two miles.
It's also very safe from traffic and is no different than crossing the street at any other time. In other words, it takes very few volunteers at intersections to keep this event safe for everyone.
It is also potentially good for business as everyone parks in the Country Mart parking lot and is right across the street from the Casey's store.
One of the classes and teachers from Leavenworth elementary schools did the first Wagga Wagga Wiggle Waggle about 10 years ago to raise some funds for their school music program, but I think this use of the name for a pet clinic may have finally found itself a home.
Stay in touch and plan to join us next time to Wiggle Waggle along Wagga Wagga.
I mean, how unique a name is that?