Spokesdog

Time to Vote for Your Favorite Spokesdog


Scoop the Poop! Watch our video above about the importance of cleaning up after your dog!

We received over two dozen nominations for the next Philadelphia Water Spokesdog. And while we personally think all these cute pooches would be great ambassadors in the campaign to spread awareness about the impact of pet waste on our waterways, it's up to you to vote in the champ.

With the average dog producing about 200 pounds of waste every year, the negative impacts that come from improper disposal can add up quickly—especially in dog-crazy neighborhoods.

Getting more people to obey laws requiring dog owners to pick up after their pet and place the poo-llution in a trash can means less untreated waste getting washed into our sewers and rivers during rains.

You can read all about the Spokesdog contest by clicking here, and be sure to vote for your favorite pup by clicking here.

Voting ends August 31, and the winner will show up in our pet waste educational materials and at community events to spread the word.

Wanted: A Few Good Spokesdogs for Healthy Water

Above: Last year’s Juniata Spokesdog, Gracie, after winning the crown. Credit: PDE and Philadelphia Water.
Above: Last year’s Juniata Spokesdog, Gracie, after winning the crown. Credit: PDE and Philadelphia Water.

It’s that time of year again, and two new neighborhoods are about to crown Philadelphia Water Spokesdogs.

For 2015, Fishtown and Washington Square West were selected as competing locales for the contest, which has been selecting a special pooch to spread the word about poo-lution since 2011. We’ll be accepting nominations for dogs from those neighborhoods through July 15. Guidelines and submission forms are available here. The Spokesdog program is held annually with the help of our friends at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

As always, the goal is to raise awareness about keeping dog waste out of our waterways by getting it off sidewalks, streets and grass right away with proper disposal techniques. We all know it’s pretty gross (and rude!) when pet owners don’t clean up after their furry friends, but many people don’t think about the health consequences, especially as they relate to water.

When pet waste is left on the sidewalks, streets or other surfaces, it gets washed into street-level sewer intakes by rain and ends up in our creeks and rivers completely untreated. That can lead to the presence of dangerous germs and excess nutrients that make water unsafe for recreation and more expensive to treat.

Here's what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say about the impact of waste left behind by careless pet owners:

Decaying pet waste consumes oxygen and sometimes releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia can damage the health of fish and other aquatic life. Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can threaten the health of humans and wildlife.  Pet waste also contains nutrients that promote weed and algae growth (eutrophication).  Cloudy and green, eutrophic water makes swimming and recreation unappealing or even unhealthy.

As you can see, the environmental and public health threat is serious, and that's why we need a top-notch doggie to help show others the importance of bagging waste and putting it in a proper receptacle.

Typically, 30-80 dogs register in each neighborhood every year, so the competition is no joke. Of those, about a dozen dogs get selected for the doggie pageant, and best in show (determined with online votes in August) becomes Spokesdog.
With the crown come some real responsibilities—and some cool goodies.

Winning spokesdogs and their caretakers will attend at least three community events in 2015, distributing information on living the eco-friendly dog life. Small bag dispensers that clip to leashes and educational tipcards will be provided to hand out at these events. The educational tipcard explains how dog waste left on the ground breaks down and washes into local stormdrains every time it rains.

So, how about those prizes?

The 1st Place Spokesdog—“Philly Water’s Best Friend”—gets the following:

• $200 prize from a local business

• Image used in promotional pieces

• Toy & cookie prize pack

For the Runner Up (picked in case the 1st Place Spokesdog is unable to fulfill their duties):

• $50 prize from a local business

• Toy & cookie prize pack

All finalists in attendance at the awards ceremony will also receive a toy and cookie prize.
If you know of a worthy pup from Washington Square West or Fishtown, send in your application now and vote for them to become Philly famous!

Resolve to know our rivers better in 2015

A River Runs Through It: Philadelphia Water Skiing + Skateboarding from Jon Graham on Vimeo.

With just a few more hours in 2014, it’s time to reflect back a little on all of the great things that we’ve experienced over the past year and make our plans for 2015. A few days ago we stumbled upon the video above created by local filmmaker Jon Graham and it’s so cool that we had to share! Seeing people enjoy the Schuylkill River—strolling on the new 2,000 foot long Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, skating at Paine’s Park, waterskiing, boating, kayaking and more—is very gratifying. At PWD, we’re proud of the role we played in helping to make 2014 such a successful year for our rivers, our water and our city.  

Whether it’s our own Schuylkill River being named Pennsylvania’s 2014 River of the Year or seeing the endangered shortnose sturgeon return to the Schuylkill, 2014 was a tremendously successful year for the health of our rivers. 

We were fortunate to be a part of a great collaboration with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Manayunk community that resulted in the opening of the Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center. This project showed how green storm water infrastructure and a PWD stormwater storage basin unit can be seamlessly interwoven into a great neighborhood and citywide amenity. We also named our first Stormwater Pioneer and gave $8.25 million to businesses for green stormwater management practices on private property through our SMIP and GARP programs. 

And we’re especially proud of award after award after award being brought home by many of PWD’s staff. And we have to give a shout out to our 2014 Philadelphia Water Department Spokesdog Winners who help us reduce the amount of pet waste that ends up in our rivers! 

As we look ahead to 2015 (here’s our spin on the common resolutions to eat better and exercise more), we suggest you resolve to: 

1. Get outside and experience every single one of the city’s waterways and the great things to do on their banks. Whether it’s waterskiing or kayaking on the Schuylkill or running and biking alongside it; taking in another pop-up park along the Delaware; or hiking along the Wissahickon, Pennypack, Poquessing, Cobbs, Tookany/Tacony-Frankford, you’ll get exercise and relieve stress by being near the water.  

2. Drink tap water! Philadelphia’s drinking water continues to be among the nation’s cleanest, safest and most reliable. We resolve to continue that in 2015 so you can resolve to get your 8 glasses (at least!) per day and at an affordable cost. The cost of 50 glasses of water here in Philadelphia is less than a penny!

3. Do your part to keep pollution out of Philadelphia's rivers and streams.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Registration for the 2014 Spokesdog Competition is Now Open!

The 2013 Spokesdog winner, Josie from Fitler Square

The Spokesdog Competition is back! This time, we’re looking for super-star dogs in Juniata and Lower Moyamensing neighborhoods to help educate pet owners and bark-buddies about the importance of picking up after their pets to keep our waterways clean.

The top dog will be asked to make an appearance at community events throughout the year and will be featured in promotional materials. The top three contenders will receive prize packages consisting of toys, treats and grooming.
Do you think your dog has Spokesdog potential? Enter your pooch into the Philly Water’s 2014 Spokesdog Competition.

All the Places We’ve Been!

Did you receive our exciting December newsletter? If not, here is a version for download. For those of you who missed it, we highlighted some of our exciting events, including our newest Spokesdog winners, Sophie and Josie, and PWD’s involvement in Greenbuild – one of the biggest, greenest conventions to have ever hit Philadelphia.

Our newsletter also details some of our upcoming events in 2014, like our Medallion Design Competition, and the next Green City, Clean Waters information session.

To sign up for future newsletters click here and be sure to check off “Green City Clean Waters.”

Congratulations to Our 2013 Spokesdog Winners!

On Saturday, October 19th, fifteen Spokesdog finalists from two participating neighborhoods (Fitler Square and University City) came out to compete for one crown. After careful consideration of which dog would make the best Spokesdog, judges announced and crowned the winners!



Josie, the 2013 Spokesdog from Fitler Square


Sophie, the 2013 Spokesdog from University City


Josie, a Beagle from Fitler Square and Sophie, an Australian Shepherd from University City, took home the titles for 2013 Spokesdog!

Each 2013 Spokesdog took home $200 worth of prizes from local businesses and will be featured on a number of brochures, advertisements, websites, etc. In addition, winning Spokesdogs will serve as ambassadors to the City for living the eco-friendly life and will attend at least three community events over the upcoming year.


These two dogs will help educate pet owners and their furry buddies about the importance of picking up dog waste in order to keep our streams and rivers clean.


Congratulations again to the winners and thanks to all the dog owners, judges, and participants in this year’s Spokesdog contest!

View more photos from the 2013 Spokesdog Crowning Ceremonies.

The Legacy of the Spokesdog Continues!

When pet waste is left on the ground, rainwater or melted snow washes it into our storm drains and into the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, harming the health of the water. But the Spokesdog is out to change that! Philly Water’s Best Friend is on a mission to keep our waterways clean by encouraging dog owners to pick up after their pets.

Every year, a new dog is chosen to carry on the legacy of the Spokesdog and continue to improve the health of Philadelphia’s waterways. Come see which dog will win this year! Out of our 15 finalists from Fitler Square and University City, only one dog from each neighborhood will be crowned as a 2013 Spokesdog. The crowning of the Fitler Square dog will take place on Saturday, October 19, at the Schuylkill River Park from 11am to 12pm, followed by the University City dog from 1pm to 2pm. Come out to cheer on your favorite dog and win free treats and giveaways for you and your favorite furry friend!

Learn more about the Philly Spokesdog Competition.

One of the 2012 Philly's Best Friend Spokesdogs, Scooter

Vote for the Next Spokesdog -- Only Three Days Left!

Get your votes in! The Spokesdog Competition closes on Thursday, July 31st. Be sure to cast your vote here, up to one vote per hour, until Thursday. The top 15 dogs from both Fitler Square and University City will be nominated to participate in a Community Competition Day! After each day, a Spokesdog will be crowned for their respective neighborhood!

Voting for Spokesdog Competition Now Open!

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It’s time again to choose Philadelphia’s four legged clean water ambassadors, so head on over to the Spokesdog page to vote for your favorite pooch! Voting for the Spokesdog Competition has officially opened! 54 dogs are competing this year, 21 from University City and 33 from Filter Square. The voting is split between the two neighborhoods, but make sure you cast a ballot for your favorite dog in each! Voting is limited to one vote per hour, so please return to the site to continue voting until Wednesday, July 31st. After the final online votes have been cast, 15 finalists will gather for a Community Competition Day in each neighborhood. A battle of brains, agility and of course, cuteness is guaranteed to ensue. Judges will deliberate and decide on a winner from both University City and Fitler Square at the end of the event. Let the games begin!

To read more about the Spokesdog Competition or learn about the importance of cleaning up after your dog, please visit this site.

Is Your Dog the Next PWD Spokesdog?

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Does your dog have star power? Is he or she the sweetest, cutest, most intelligent and amazing animal in the City? There’s still time to register your dog for the 2013 Philly Watersheds Spokesdog Contest, now in its third year.  This round, we’re searching for dogs in the University City and Fitler Square neighborhoods to compete for a panel of judges during a community day.

Spokesdogs promote cleaning up after your pet in order keep our waterways clean! The top three contenders will receive prize packages consisting of toys, treats and grooming. The top dog will be asked to make appearances at community events throughout the year and will be featured in Philly Watersheds materials. Take a look at the registration page or forward on to a friend. Our Spokesdog page has complete contest information and photos from previous years' events. Ruff, ruff!

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