It is estimated that there is about 90 million dogs in the United States, and one in every three households has a canine resident that has to go out for a walk at least a handful of times a day. Spokane is no different and for the last couple of years, Spokane Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) has put together a volunteer program that caters specifically to dog walkers.
Paws on Patrol welcomes walkers of all dogs, big and small – Rosie the Rottweiler is just as welcome as Chico the Chihuahua – as long as they can walk on a leash.
On a hot Monday evening, a group of Paws on Patrollers gathered at the downtown dog park on West Riverside Avenue, to walk through part of downtown.
Some were nearby residents; others drove in from the Spokane Valley to take part in the downtown walk. Once you are a member of Paws on Patrol you are welcome to go to any meet up you’d like, anywhere in town.
To become an official Paws on Patrol volunteer you must go through training and a background check provided by COPS. The training shows participants how to keep an eye on their neighborhood while they are out walking their dogs.
Dog walkers already notice a lot about their neighborhood: which cars are in the driveways, where that one cat lives (your dog surely knows) and when neighbors leave for work or come home – all stuff that may seem insignificant until something is amiss.
Paws on Patrol is basically Neighborhood Observation Patrol while you are already doing something you love: walking your dog.
COPS’ training shows you how to deal with unexpected situations in a safe and responsible manner, and how and when to report certain things you may come across.Downtown is different from most Spokane neighborhoods, with its mix of residential housing, business offices, restaurants and retail, but there are more and more residents downtown and many have dogs.
The group walked under the trees on Riverside Avenue to Madison Street and then it headed south under a couple of underpasses before walking back to the dog park, through Railroad Alley. Along the way, volunteers picked up trash, checked on some houseless people and took note of graffiti to be reported.