Downtown Meadville is going to the dogs this week as several local businesses are teaming up for a special canine giveaway in celebration of today being National Walk Your Dog Day.
The Woolen Mill, Chateau Christine, Harmony Formals, Indigo Boutique and Botanica, French Creek Coffee & Tea Co., Confections of a Cake Lover and the Green Shoppe have come together for the week-long event. Those first three businesses will each be holding gift basket giveaways, while the others will have special treats for dog walkers who visit their stores with their four-legged companions.
Sue Wycoff, co-owner of the Woolen Mill, said the idea for the event originated with her store, but other businesses showed interest in taking part and the event spread. The goal is to promote local shopping as well as exercise.
"We're encouraging our local residents to come enjoy downtown," Wycoff said. "It's a way to be social, outside and get your steps in."
The Woolen Mill has put together a gift basket with some of its own items and donations from other businesses. These include both canine-appropriate products — such as dog care items from Conneaut Lake Veterinary Services — to ones designed for their owners — like some bags of coffee from French Creek Coffee & Tea Co.
As a sort of grand prize for the basket, the Woolen Mill will give out two Charles River New Englander slickers raincoats, one designed for people and one designed for dogs. Wycoff said she ordered coats in various sizes and will be able to accommodate any kind of dog.
To enter the contest, prospective contestants must take a picture of themselves walking their dogs. If the walkers visit the Woolen Mill, the staff there can take the picture for the walkers.
The contestants must then upload their photos to Facebook or Instagram and tag the Woolen Mill. If they don't have a social media platform, they can instead email their photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further, if either the contestant or their dog are wearing clothing they got from the Woolen Mill in the photo, they get a bonus entry.
For Harmony Formals' gift basket, which will have dog tags and a scented candle with a dog theme among some of the prizes, dog walkers need only visit the store during the week and fill out a ticket to be put in a drawing box.
Chateau Christine, meanwhile, will require contestants to post a picture of their pets to the store's Facebook page or email the picture to Christine.email@example.com. The store's gift basket will include a dog bowl, lead and collar, as well as a "dog mom" hat, bracelet and other items.
The dog walk event will run through Feb. 28.
Sean P. Ray can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: This story was updated Feb. 23 to correct the name of Indigo Boutique and Botanica.