We wanted to be adventurous and try something different with Polar, so when we heard about the dog hash, we were absolutely thrilled. So what is a dog hash, AKA “dash”?
Hash Clubs aren’t new, it’s an international group of non-competitive running social clubs with a drinking (beer) problem. Events organized by Hash Clubs are known as hash or hash run. Hashing is supposedly an exhilaratingly fun combination of running, navigating through jungles where bands of harriers and harriettes (or in the case of DASH, it’s hounds) chase hares on the trail. In Singapore, we have several hash clubs but we are the first in the world to have a Dog Hash – DASH (YAY!).
The local Dash club are a bunch of people that enjoy drinking and running (with their dogs) and all the other stuff that come with it and formed this club. All participants take turns to set runs regardless of whether they are members, committee members or regular guests.
DASH happens on the first Saturday of every month at a different location in Singapore. It’s usually announced on the website on the week of the hash so be sure to keep checking if you’re interested to attend. There isn’t any pre-registration, all you have to do is turn up at the meeting point at 4.30pm to register yourself.
All humans and dogs of all shapes and sizes are welcome. There’s a registration fee of $15 (non-alcoholic) or $20 (alcoholic). You can also opt for a per year membership if you find yourself hooked to this activity.
The 164th DASH meeting place was on the unofficial road off Kheam Hock Road which is essentially Bukit Brown Cemetery Entrance. When we saw the location, we were a little hesitant at first because it’s the 7th Lunar month at the moment, also known as ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’. However, we decided to just brave it alongside our friends Peanut & Family, Skippy & Mummy, and Leah & Grandpa. There were so many different breeds of dogs attending the DASH, it was like the canine version of a United Nations conference!
For the first timers (which are labelled ‘Virgins’), the main gist of the hash is move quickly while looking out for flour, chalk and/or toilet paper on the ground or the trees. These items are used to mark the trail. At the end of the trail, there’ll be drinks and snacks waiting for you.
Each run is different, some more challenging than the others. You are expected to complete the whole trail, however depending on your own and your dog’s physical capabilities, you may adjust your pace accordingly. It is ideal that you do your utmost best to keep up with the pack, keep your eyes peeled for markers and listen up for call outs to ensure that you do not get lost!
When you first start, because everyone starts at the same point, it was pretty crowded but eventually some people get ahead, and some of us fell behind. You’ll somehow find yourself in smaller, more comfortable group sizes as you move along.
Most owners let their dogs off leash from the start. We were a bit worried (about Polar’s not-so-fantastic recall abilities) so we kept him on leash till we got more familiar with the process, and we felt a bit more confident letting him run ahead.
Be sure to wear comfortable sports attire, and for ladies, ideally long pants as you’ll be sometimes bashing through hanging vegetation in the forest, or running through mud fields. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
So at the end of the DASH, it is encouraged to stay behind for the fun part! Everyone will form a circle and start introducing each other, and play some drinking games, etc. It was a shame that we were unable to stay back for the circle gathering because we had another appointment to rush for but not before we made Polar white again.
So if you’re interested to go for the next DASH, apart from ensuring that you are dressed appropriately (sports attire), here’s a list of things you should bring along with you in a small backpack:
> Insect Repellent (very important because there are mosquitoes everywhere)
> Small towel (to wipe your perspiration)
> Water bottle (for both yourself and your dog)
> A change of clothes (optional!)
We had a lot of fun at the DASH and can’t wait for the next one. If you’re going for the next one, let us know! We’ll love to see you there.
Until next time, stay curious!
*Note: Please note that DASH is a hash club and not a dog walkers association. Please familiarise yourself with hash culture before joining the activity.