Pack and Play

A Sunday morning tradition keeps the neighborhood mutts strutting — since 2014! 

The NW Philly Pack Walk, a group of dog owners that meets in McMichael Park every Sunday morning at 9:30 for a group stroll around the neighborhood, was formed in 2014 by active community members Steve and Carolyn Fillmore. In warmer seasons, they also feature a Wissahickon Walk one Saturday a month that follows one of three different trail loops thru spectacular local scenery.

Though walkers without dogs are enthusiastically welcome, canine camaraderie is kind of the point. Owners bring their dogs for exercise and socialization — it’s a fun, relaxed way to help pups of all temperaments get used to interacting with other dogs and humans. Dave Maslow has been bringing his dog, Willow, to the pack walk for the last four months. He also brings along his young son Asher, and the two carry a plastic bag, picking up any litter they see along the way.

“We give a lot of love to her, so we try to get her out as much as we can,” Maslow said. “We haven’t even had her a year yet, and she’s three years old. So we were looking for things to do with dogs, because this is new to us, and there’s not many dog parks around. It gives her a chance to get out and socialize with other dogs, and it gets us out also.”

Brian Kistler and his dog Daisy have been joining the pack walk every week since shortly after it started. He and his wife Christina live across the street and spotted the pack one day — it wasn’t long until they joined.

“We needed to socialize Daisy a little so she would be more friendly with other dogs, because our last dog was not,” Kistler said. “So when she was young, that’s how we got her exposed to more dogs, and we’ve been coming here ever since. She harasses us Sunday mornings if we’re not moving; she knows it’s pack walk day.”

Join the Pack

Pack walks meet by the Turtle at McMichael Park (MAP) every Sunday at 9:30AM, rain or shine. Dress appropriately — there’s no hating on Elmer Fudd flaps, clunky galoshes or parkas covered in dog hair, ha! (that last one’s a badge of honor for this group).

Come prepared and be sure to follow some common-sense rules:

  1. Use 4 – 6 foot lead for best control.
  2. If your dog is reactive, say so! It’s your right as a dog owner to claim the space you need to keep you & your dog safe.
  3. Before introducing dogs, make sure you ask the owner first. When in doubt, skip the meet ‘n greet until everyone’s had a chance to walk some energy off, and move together as a pack awhile.

Questions about the pack? Call 215-689-1043 or email editor@eastfallslocal.com. For more pics and to connect with other Pack Walkers, join NW Philly Pack Walk on Meetup (over 1,300 members!)

About Lindsay Lindsay Hargrave is a senior journalism student at Temple University. She can be reached at lindsay.hargrave@temple.edu.

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