As the racers take their marks at the starting line, the crowd begins to cheer on their favorite competitors. The runners take off down the track, four legs at a time, wagging their tails behind them. These furry athletes, who are all dachshunds, are participating in the much-anticipated Weenie Dog Race at the annual Hewitt Dog Days canine event, put on by the Hewitt Public Library.
This year marks the fifth time this community-wide event has captured the attention of the Hewitt area and its residents. It began as a fundraiser for the library’s many programs but has grown to become one of the most well-attended events of the year.
“I started the event to raise funds and spread awareness of the library,” said Waynette Ditto, Hewitt Library’s director. “But I found this wonderful world of dog lovers.”
Rescue organizations from McLennan County and as far as Dallas and Austin bring their adoptable animals every year in hopes of finding their furry friends forever homes. And the dog loving doesn’t end there. The event also includes a demonstration by the K-9 unit, a dog registration for Hewitt residents, microchipping, and even a red carpet for dogs to strut their stuff.
“We also have an awards ceremony for our service dogs,” Ditto said. “All [dog owners] have to do is show up, announce their pet, and we present them with a medal. Everybody gets a little love.”
Event attendees are also encouraged to bring a bag of dog food to donate to the local animal shelter and to the police department who often find lost and abandoned canines.
“Our officers know just about all the dogs in the area and who they belong to, but if they come across a dog they don’t know who isn’t microchipped, it’s important to have food for them.”
Ditto said they started asking for food donations because people wanted to feel like they were helping. But even though the focus of the event is giving back, it’s also about fun.
“We will have a petting zoo that comes from the Dallas area with all types of animals, demonstrations from different businesses who have an interest in dogs, a visit from the fire department and pet adoptions all day.”
The event is September 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is free to the public, with a $2 charge for parking. Pets can attend if they are on a leash.
“We have a lot of fun at this event, and the money goes to a good cause, which is the library,” Ditto said.
For more information about the Dog Days event, visit http://hewittchamber.com/dogdays/.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.