Facebook stalk' the Hikabulls group in California watching their amazing hikes with like-minded dog owners. It was only after lamenting that I wished we had a group in our area, that Lark suggested we start our own group, giving us the structure and the confidence to begin walking in Chicago. Flash forward and we have reached our one year anniversary!
From navigating densely population urban areas, to unexpected growth, getting to be part of a positive dog community and meeting and working with some amazing people, this is how we look just 1 year later:
Number of Members on Our Inaugural Walk: 4 --Plus, Miss M & Mr. B
Number of Current Members: Approximately 120 current members who have completed our 'orientation' process. We also have approximately 45 dogs on our waiting list. We have increased to 2 walks per week, but we cap the walks at 20 pooches each.
Numbers of Walks Cancelled in One Year: 7! We've only had 4 walks cancelled for weather conditions (thanks to a very mild winter!). And we chose to cancel the weekend NATO was in town, and for the Chicago Marathon.
Number of "Fifteen Minutes of Fame": One! After an unfortunate incident involving an irresponsible dog owner and 2 'dogs-at-large', we were excited to welcome the Chicago Tribune on one of our walks to share the positive side of responsible dog ownership.
Adoptable Pooches who have Walked with the Group: 17
Number Who Have Since Been Adopted: 12! Four of them even return to SociaBulls to walk with their new families.
Number of New Walking Groups We've Heard about in Other Cities: Several. We've been trading emails with a lot of people in a lot of locations and we've been privy to all types of great, well-researched groups popping up. From Seattle to New Jersey, Minnesota, Kansas City, Oregon, California, Arizona and Ohio (I know I'm leaving some of you guys out...), it has been great hearing about all the new groups and trading ideas.
Favorite Quotes about the Group: "I can't do many social things with my dog, but this is one thing we can do together every weekend". Plus more here.
Funniest Quote Heard From a Passing Car: "If I had known you all were walking out here, I would have brought my Westie".
This year has been about learning a lot, encountering things we've never anticipated, and changing direction a few times. What we originally thought was clearly defined, just doesn't seem so clear right now.
We never expected our group to grow so big or the demand to join to be so high.
I do know we will continue creating a positive, safe place where our dogs can comfortably walk.
Stay tuned to our Sociabulls Facebook page where we will keep most of our updates.
Plus, 'fun facts' from our first few months.