By Dana Casadei
Meridian Times staff writer
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP — On a perfect fall evening, with the temperature just right, a group gathers, with their dogs and friends, to take part in the Harris Nature Center’s Howl at the Moon event, which takes place once a month.
“It’s a special event because the Harris Nature Center rarely does night events,” said Rebekah Faivor, Assistant Naturalist, who led the walk.
The event took place on Friday, Oct. 14, which started around 7:30 p.m. and lasted about an hour. The walk began at the Harris Nature Center parking lot and is usually a full loop, ending at East Gate Park, but due to flooding issues on the trail this group didn’t complete the full loop, with everyone turning around half way.
“We have taken walks in the rain and the snow,” said Kait Adams, park naturalist. “We carry on regardless.”
Since they have events planned from now until May it’s a good thing that no matter the weather they still walk, even though this at times leads to fewer people being there, with the group usually getting 10 or more, with a few regulars, according to Adams.
“We’ve become repeat offenders,” said Susan Steinke, who came with her two dogs Kiwi, a Pomeranian mix, and Mango, a poodle mix.
While some are repeat offenders others came for the first time this past weekend, such as Jim Shaft and his English bull dog Bo, who he affectionately calls Bo Bo.
“I’ve driven by this place 100 times and never came until I read an article in the State Journal,” said Shaft. “We should’ve been doing this all along.”
Bo, like many of the other dogs, seemed very excited to be on the walk through the woods, with sudden bursts of energy that quit as soon as they begin, including towards the end of the three-mile walk, with Shaft carrying Bo on his shoulder.
Not only is this a great opportunity for the dogs, and their owners, to get some exercise but it is also a chance for dogs that may be shy to break out of their shells a little.
Sarah Erickson’s Coonhound Gracie used to be shy, especially around people, but this event has made her more comfortable around people and other dogs. Now they’ve come too many times to count, said Erickson with a laugh.