Paws on Patrol: Dog lovers make Spokane parks, streets safer

rottweiler at manito park in spokane

I helped do a thing. You see, there’s this calendar circulating that puts the spotlight on dogs and dog lovers who are helping make Spokane parks and streets a little bit safer for us all.

It’s important for me to give back to the community.

I live a fortunate life with a roof over my head, a full belly (yeah, I never miss a meal and I feel it some days), a good hubby and the ability to give a safe, loving home to one Maremma sheepdog.

And I am grateful for it.

That’s why, when called upon, I have no problem volunteering my talents and abilities to the community. That includes making images of adoptable dogs for local rescues or doing Santa portraits.

Or making a fundraising calendar.

paws on patrol volunteer with dog at manito park in spokane

Karen and Rascal

A serendipitous meeting

Events are a great way to meet people and maybe do a little networking.

For the last two years, I drained the bank account to have a booth at the Northwest Pet Expo and this past March, I found myself parked next to a certain community group.

A division of the Community Oriented Policing Services, or C.O.P.S., Paws on Patrol engages dog lovers throughout the city to keep an eye out for crime.

The Paws on Patrol leadership group trains dog lovers, a.k.a. volunteers, what to look for and how to report it as they’re out walking their pups in Spokane parks and neighborhoods.

Patrick Striker, C.O.P.S. executive director, says he’s more than pleased with how the community has embraced the new program.

“It’s incredible,” he says. “We have volunteers from all reaches of the greater Spokane area and they come to different neighborhoods to help our police officers keep our city safer.”

Our police officers, he adds, are a busy bunch and they don’t always notice when something is amiss while on neighborhood patrol.

Walking your dog down your street or in the park on a regular basis, you might.

paws on patrol volunteers walk dogs at riverfront park in spokane

The Huffmans

You might see someone shady lurking around or being suspicious.

You might notice a drug deal going down or someone peeking weirdly into everyone’s cars.

You don’t have to confront anyone.

In fact, Patrick advises that’s a bad idea.

“Yeah, we don’t teach people to make citizen arrests or to confront crime in action,” he says. “We train them what to look for and how to get it handled by the right people, our police force.”

Paws on Patrol organizes group walks in neighborhoods where crime has spiked or in Spokane parks where problems have started to arise.

Volunteers are armed only with information and T-shirts, their dogs with official Patrol bandanas and leashes.

“Our community volunteers are proud to wear their Paws on Patrol gear and I know their presence in our parks and on our streets has changed neighborhoods for the better,” Patrick says.

Hitting the popular Spokane parks

Patrick reached across our booth divider for a handshake and said something like, “hey, have you heard about us?”

Nope, but fill me in.

I’m out in Spokane Valley where Paws on Patrol doesn’t have a presence (yet). I make regular trips into Spokane, of course, but it’s tough to say “yeah, Bella and I will be there!” and volunteer as a Paws on Patrol member.

I offered my services in the best way I know how.


paws on patrol volunteer with her dog at the city of spokane letter blocks at riverfront park

Lainie and Daisy

Patrick’s eyes lit up and, all of a sudden, he says, “let’s do a calendar!”


The Paws on Patrol calendar was born.

He put the word out, asking volunteers if anyone was interested in posing for a portrait with their dog.

In less than an hour, he had more volunteers than we had months in a year.

It went to first come, first serve and availability on our session dates.

Patrick and I met the volunteers at popular Spokane parks and landmarks—Manito Park, the letter blocks at Riverfront Park, the clock tower, Corbin Park and Huntington Park.

paws on patrol volunteer plays with her dogs at spokane parks

Laura, Vinny and Jazzlo

I met people who not only love their dogs but also their parks, neighborhood and city.

It was an incredible experience to help create this calendar and to get to know some of the people who make this city tick.

The calendar is a fundraising project for Paws on Patrol. Call 509-625-3302 if you’re interested in a copy or volunteering for the program.

Oh, those Santa portraits

I’m not going to lie. I’d rather be out in North Idaho and Spokane parks creating images of dogs and their humans.

But I can do the inside stuff when necessary.

baby gets upset during santa portrait

Grumpy Baby Anakin and Toboe with Santa

I carted my props and lighting gear out to Laundramutt in Coeur d’Alene three times in October and November to do Santa portraits.

I teamed up with my friend Tamara McKenna, co-owner of the dog grooming and DIY-wash business, to raise money for three rescues.

All proceeds went to The Furry Farm Rescue of Rathdrum, Idaho, Rescue4All of Spokane, and—my pet organization—the MSCA National Maremma Sheepdog Rescue Network.

Folks, we raised $615 and that total is getting split equally among the rescues.

I’m so happy that folks embraced our little project and helped us do this.

four dogs with santa during a portrait session in coeur d'alene

What a fun pack!

All around the circle

That’s this week’s entry into the dog photographers’ blog circle.

We had to focus on park life and what better subject than people who have dedicated their dog walks to making Spokane parks safer?


Now you to travel around the world and see how other pet photographers saw perspective in their dog photos.

Start with Kylee Doyle Photography, serving the greater Sacramento area.

When you get to the bottom of ’s blog post, click the link to the next blogger and so on and so on.

When you find yourself back here, you’re back home.

Right where you belong.

And when you’re ready to book a fun portrait session in one of our beautiful parks, hit this handy button to get in touch.

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2 thoughts on “Paws on Patrol: Dog lovers make Spokane parks, streets safer”

  1. Great post and I hope that they sell LOTS of calendars! It’s true that volunteering fills you up, so much of adulting drains your tank. I love the picture of the grumpy kid, I’ve had a lot of that in my studio lately too! 🙂

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