There are a quarter of a million people who come to Ocean City in the summertime, and thousands of them walk the 27 blocks of the Boardwalk each day. In “What Are You Doing Here?” we stop a few of them and find out what brought them to our corner of the Eastern Shore.
Michael and Erica Heery came from Leighton, Pa. on the blustery, rainy day on April 22. They came with their dog Snoopy. All three were dressed up in “Star Wars” costumes while they walked in the 18th annual Boardwalkin’ for Pets. Erica was dressed as Rey from the “Force Awakens” and her husband dressed as Chewbacca.
“We’ve been doing this for eight years, and we love it. We always come dressed up, ‘cause we want to win the costume contest,” said Michael, who dressed as Chewbacca.
“Looks like we’re the only ones this year, so there’s little competition,” joked Erica. She was dressed as Rey from the latest film. “We’re big-time Star Wars fans. Snoopy’s Han Solo!”
When asked which “Star Wars” was the best, the couple answered at the same time: Return of the Jedi.
“Although Empire Strikes Back was pretty awesome,” Erica said, as her husband nodded.
That, and they enjoy Ocean City’s pristine beaches.
“It’s so clean here. New Jersey isn’t like this, and it’s only a four hour drive,” Erica said.
Before the couple headed home, they had some items they wanted to cross of their lists:
“When you’re here, you have to have the Thrasher’s. It’s a must,” Michael said.
“I’m more for Fracture Prune,” Erica said. “And Assateague. It’s gorgeous out there.”
Yellow-cake donuts, Thrasher’s Fries and beautiful beaches are all just footnotes to the Heery’s trip, and not even the main attraction. They come every year without fail ever since they saved the “Han Solo”-costumed pup from a kill shelter eight years ago. Every year, for eight years, they’ve fundraised hundreds of dollars to the Worcester County Humane Society to help provide for dogs just like Snoopy that crowd the pounds across the country.
In a odd way, Boardwalkin’ for Pets also saved Snoopy’s life. When he walked in his first event, he was limping to keep up with other pooches. It turned out he needed emergency knee surgery or he’d never walk again. After many pins, wire and rehab. Maybe he struggled for a while, but perseverance after the pins and rehab, Snoopy can play fetch and run and walk on the boards as any other dog out there. He was saved by the compassion of one couple from Pennsylvania, spending their time, money, energy and making room in their hearts for one scrappy puppy.
Since the Heery’s took a chance on him, Snoopy’s walking as good as any other dog on the Boardwalk could in a garb and a windy day on the Boardwalk. And it’s in his own way to pay it forward… while enjoying the beautiful beach with his humans.