After months of online submissions and voting, two eco-friendly dogs have stepped into the spotlight for a rare opportunity to help keep Philadelphia’s waterways clean.
Molson, a “pusky” (part pitbull, part husky) with bright blue eyes, takes the reins as the 2011 East Falls Spokesdog, while golden-doodle (part golden retriever, part poodle) Teddie serves as the new four-legged representative for Manayunk and Roxborough.
The two dogs, and their caretakers, are responsible for distributing materials about the dangers of neglecting to pick up pet waste in the neighborhood. In addition, they are required to attend three Philadelphia Water Department sponsored events this year. It’s all part of an effort to raise watershed awareness in Philadelphia.
“A lot of times people think that animal waste is natural,” says Laura Copeland, public relations manager for the Philadelphia Water Department, “but it does contain disease causing bacteria which, when it rains, can eventually make its way to our drinking water sources, which are the Delaware and the Schuylkill rivers.”
It’s a challenge these dogs consider a treat.
Molson’s caretaker David Buzzard, who just moved to East Falls a year ago, says Molson “really loves the park, he loves the river, he loves taking a walk down here, he really loves the East Falls area.”
Molson competed against 12 other furry finalists on Saturday at Trolley Car Cafe in East Falls. Teddie beat out 14 other canines for the crown at Pretzel Park in Manayunk.
Both winners were recognized by Mayor Michael Nutter and Rep. Pamela DeLissio of the 194th District, which covers all or parts of Manayunk, Roxborough and East Falls. DeLissio said she “admires the educational effort the Philadelphia Water Department has undertaken to educate the citizens of Philadelphia about storm water management.”
The winning dogs also received a $200 prize from a local pet store or dog-care provider.
Organizers say the event was so successful that plans are already in the works for ten more neighborhoods to take part in spokesdog contests next spring.