(Editor's Note (Updated 11/28/2023): In light of the recent health developments affecting canines, and with a commitment to safety and well-being, the organizer of the Boston Tea Party Boston Terrier Pet Walk has made the responsible decision to postpone the event originally scheduled for December. This proactive step ensures that the health advisories and preventative measures can be fully observed. While we understand the disappointment that may come with this change, we stand by the organizer's decision and echo the importance of prioritizing the safety of our pets and community. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on the rescheduled event in the spring. For those who wish to support during this hiatus, we encourage participating in the organizer's fundraiser for Boston Terrier Rescue of Florida, Inc. Stay tuned to Just Add Rover and to Boston Tea Party, Boston Terrier Pet Walk Facebook page for the latest information and how you can help. See our latest interview here with Jim Nixon to learn more about the steps taken.)
Steep a delightful cup of tea and nestle into a comfortable nook with your furry pal as we chat with Jim R. Nixon, the mastermind behind the Boston Tea Party, Boston Terrier Pet Walk in St. Petersburg, Florida. A heartwarming blend of historical tribute and canine camaraderie, this event has brewed up enthusiasm and significance with each passing year. As it steams into its sixth year, mark your calendar for Sunday, December 17, 2023, at Pioneer Park. Pour over Jim's tales of the event's inception, its purpose, and the happiness it infuses into the Boston Terrier community and beyond.
The Boston Tea Party, Boston Terrier Pet Walk was inspired by the love for Boston Terriers and aligns with the historic Boston Tea Party's anniversary, making it a unique blend of history and canine celebration.
Safety and hydration are top priorities during the pet walk, with specific resting points at iconic St. Petersburg locations, ensuring everyone - dogs and humans alike - have an enjoyable experience.
Starting a similar event in your town? Jim advises beginning with a small group, leveraging social media platforms, and understanding local event policies. With dedication and passion, even a small gathering can grow into a significant annual event.
Q: Can you tell us how the Boston Tea Party Pet Walk initially came to be?
A: I had rescued my first Boston Terrier, and the rescue had a reunion pet walk with their adopted dogs. It was fun, and a friend who owned a Boston Terrier said we should do one to get our Boston Terriers together. I thought, why not do a Boston Terrier Pet Walk?
The issue was deciding when to have it in Florida! December is a cooler month and just happens to be the anniversary of the actual Boston Tea Party. Boston Terriers are the only American Breed Dogs that happen to be from Boston. So, I thought we would hold the event on the Sunday closest to the actual anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and call the event the Boston Tea Party, Boston Terrier Pet Walk.
We are an annual event, so It’s always the Sunday closest to the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, which is Dec 16th. This year is the 250th anniversary of the actual Boston Tea Party. Q: How does the Boston Terrier Rescue of Florida, Inc. participate in the event, and what is their role in making it a success? A: Many of our participants are fosters or have been adopted from the Boston Terrier Rescue of Florida, so we, of course, would like to help the organization be seen and find fosters or get donations. Each year we maintain them as our Support Rescue. And while there is no fee or money made from our event, we benefit them if anyone would like to donate. Q: Are there other Boston Tea Party dog walks in the country, or is this event the first of its kind? A: There are several that we have seen in other Boston Terrier Facebook Groups. The second largest I have seen was in Japan, with walks in New York and Boston. We are in our sixth year, so I am not sure we are the first, but we are the largest with over 300 Boston Terriers in our fifth anniversary walk.
Q: What safety measures are in place to ensure both pets and their owners have an enjoyable experience at the Pet walk? Each year, we gather at Pioneer Park, and the pet walk takes place around Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg. We walk along Beach Drive, a famous tourist strip of shops, restaurants, and tourist destinations. We always have local businesses set up water stations at strategic locations throughout the walk. We have a lead with a Boston Terrier flag that controls the pace of the group. There are only two cross streets on the route, so we inform all the walkers to follow all pedestrian and leash laws. We also incorporate group photos in the walk so the group has places to stop, rest, and hydrate. We always stop at the Museum of Fine Arts and the St. Pete Pier, both iconic locations in downtown St. Pete. The walk is 1.1 miles with the same starting and end point. People can walk as much or as little of the walk as they want. Some come and just hang out in the park but don't participate in the walk, and that's okay, too.
We are fortunate enough to live in a very pet-friendly city. St Petersburg was named third most pet-friendly city in America by WalletHub in 2023. So much so it created a webpage, "St PetePAWS" and a database for Pet-friendly businesses.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to organize a similar event in their town?
A: Don't be frightened just to set something up. Create a Facebook Group and check your local city event policy. We are a gathering event, so we do not have to pull permits. You could meet up at a dog park or dog-friendly business. Start small. Our group here hosts monthly meetups of Boston Terrier owners and uses the Boston Tea Party, Boston Terrier Pet Walk as their December meet-up. We started with just 15 to 20 pups and people the first year.
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