Philadelphia Water's New Official Spokesdog: Little Pup with a Big Message

Meet Shorty, our latest anti-POOllution Spokesdog. Nothing makes him more upset than seeing pet waste that's been left on the street to wash into our rivers—his (and our) drinking water source! Credit: Philadelphia Water/Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
Meet Shorty, our latest anti-POOllution Spokesdog. Nothing makes him more upset than seeing pet waste that's been left on the street to wash into our rivers—his (and our) drinking water source! Credit: Philadelphia Water/Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

There were some (very) big dogs.

There were lots of (very) cute dogs.

But after a hard-fought contest at the Zoom Room on Girard Avenue this past Sunday, there was only one official Philadelphia Water Spokesdog.

And that dog is …  

Shorty!

An adorable mix of Chihuahua, Dachshund and Jack Russell, Shorty hails from Fishtown. And, despite often being “the smallest dog at the dog park,” he packs a lot of passion. His owner, Michelle Pauls, says that spunk and his friendly ways will help him spread the word about keeping dog waste out of our rivers by always picking it up.

“Shorty is awesome!” Pauls said after winning the top spot in our annual ‘best of show’-style contest. “He is small, cute and full of personality! Astrid, my daughter, volunteered at a shelter in Northern Liberties and saw him, and told her dad, and they decided to surprise me with him for Christmas two years ago.”

Pauls said her family entered Shorty in the Spokesdog competition because they believe in taking care of our planet. “It's the only one we have, and Shorty thought it was a good idea too,” Pauls said. “I could picture Shorty, in his Watershed vest, walking around the 'hood spreading the news about caring for our watershed. We all know how important water is to us... We are all caretakers of our earth—that's Shorty's motto—and I've come to adopt it as my own.”

Shorty first became concerned about bad pet waste habits after seeing a notice from the Environmental Protection Agency that issued this warning: “Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local water bodies.”

Gross!

The little Fishtown pooch has already achieved minor Philly celeb status and helped to get his anti-POOllution advice out to fellow Philadelphians in a big way: Metro Philly readers got to see his mug and his message in Monday’s edition!

While Shorty was the clear winner and took home a gift pack valued at $200, we had a tie for second place between "Fasha the Dog" and "Harley Brink." Fasha and Harley took home toys and treats as well, and pledged to sit in for Shorty if he’s under the weather or on vacation.

More: Check out this great fact sheet on pet waste from Clear Choices Clean Water.

Congratulations to Shorty and all those who participated! Keep an eye out for Shorty in the coming months as he continues to let other dogs and their owners know that leaving pet waste on streets and in yards leads to pollution in our water ways.

Like Shorty says, “Only rain should go down the storm drain! Woof!”

Check out these Flickr photo albums from the 2015 Spokesdog pageant below to see who Shorty had to beat:

Spokesdog 2015

2015 Philly Water's Best Friend Competition