The Dogs of Del Ray Mural at Pat Miller Square Unveiled, Dedicated by AWLA

The Dogs of Del Ray mural covers the wall of Stomping Ground facing Pat Miller Square. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

ALEXANDRIA, VA— First Thursdays are back in Alexandria and on this First Thursday, May 6, the Dogs of Del Ray mural at Pat Miller Square was dedicated by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

Artist Patrick Kirwin and AWLA Executive Director Stella Hanly cut the ribbon, unveiling the Dogs of Del Ray mural. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)
Artist Patrick Kirwin and AWLA Executive Director Stella Hanly cut the ribbon, unveiling the Dogs of Del Ray mural. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

“The story behind the mural is based on a mural in Dunedin, Florida,” explains Karen Johnson, Co-Founder of PawsGo. “Maurine Schweers, who does communication for the DRBA, saw a Facebook post of the mural in Florida, and she emailed me and Pat Miller and said, ‘This would be something fun to do in Del Ray. How can we do it?’ So Pat Miller, who knows everybody, contacted the owner of Stomping Ground, who is a dog-lover. He said, ‘I think it’s a great idea.’”

Karen Johnson of PawsGo and Dr. Lauren Fisher of the DRBA announce the ribbon cutting. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

Of the numerous artists Pat and Karen interviewed, Patrick Kirwin was the perfect fit for this project.

Since March, Patrick has been painting portraits of the dogs of Del Ray on the north wall of Stomping Ground. You might have noticed his subtle jokes painted throughout the mural—can you spot the pink Floyd—and his set of scaffolding as he neared the top of the wall.

Now, the mural of dozens of dogs adorns the entire wall of Stomping Ground overlooking Pat Miller square.

The Dogs of Del Ray mural covers the wall of Stomping Ground facing Pat Miller Square. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

On this First Thursday in May, several local rescues and pet establishments, including Operation Paws for Homes, Lost Dog and Cat Rescue, the AWLA, Nature’s Nibbles, and Wholistic Hound Academy, gathered in Del Ray as Patrick Kirwin and Stella Hanly of the AWLA cut the ribbon dedicating the Dogs of Del Ray mural.

Nature’s Nibbles had their dog bath open, and Wholistic Hound Academy gave dog demonstrations and instruction at the grassy Mount Vernon lot, while the AWLA arrived in its new mobile Veterinary and Event Vehicle, Waggin’ Wheels.

The AWLA arrived to the ribbon cutting in their new Veterinary and Event Vehicle, Waggin’ Wheel. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

Along with their dedication of the mural, the AWLA received a check from the Del Ray Business Association (DRBA). The DRBA purchased a pet portrait square on the mural and raffled it off.

“I reached out to ten of my friends to get it started,” said Karen, “and those ten people kept telling people. Within a week we had 100 dogs. It was like dominoes.”

Each raffle entry was $10, and the raffle winner was randomly selected. Congrats to dog Pelu!

Dog Pelu won the raffled portrait square. Congrats! (Photo courtesy of Karen Johnson)

With every other portrait square purchased, dog owners were able to additionally donate to the AWLA.

The raffle entries coupled with the portrait donations totaled $4,400.

“We are so grateful to all the people who donated and who are bringing supplies to help animals in need across the community,” said Gina Hardter, Director of Marketing and Communications at AWLA. “Having the Dogs of Del Ray mural is just another way to show how much Del Ray and all Alexandria loves animals.”

Grace Arnold of Zebra interviews Director of Marketing and Communications for AWLA, Gina Hardter, on what this dedication and donation mean. (Photo Lucelle O’Flaherty)

The AWLA also received a portion of the proceeds from each Nature’s Nibbles bath given on May 6.

This money will go towards the Pet Pantry at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

This First Thursday in May was one full of animals, art, and giving hearts.