Published 9:45 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Suffolk Humane Society plans to hold its second Mutt Strut Dog Walk and Festival on Sept. 20 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Sleepy Hole Park.

The fundraising event will feature special prizes, a book signing, and the Purina Incredible Dog Team. The event is co-sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department of Suffolk.

“For most of us, pets and how we treat our pets says a lot about us as individuals and us as a community,” Kay Hurley, the director of community outreach for the Suffolk Humane Society, said. “They are some of the most helpless beings. They have no one to speak for them, and we give them that voice.”

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Other scheduled events include police and bomb dog demonstrations, agility demonstrations, canine games and contests, raffles and prizes, food, exhibitors, a rabies clinic and vet corner, and representatives from animal rescue groups and shelters.

The headliner of the event is the Purina Incredible Dog Team, a collection of some of the world’s most athletic canines. The pups will perform at the event at 1:15 and 4:05 p.m. Laura Moretz will perform with her incredible team of dogs, demonstrating freestyle flying disc routines set to music. The routines emphasize responsible pet care and shows how proper nutrition and training can bring out the best in any dog.

Judi McCoy, award winning romance and mystery writer, will be at Mutt Strut, autographing copies of her most recent mystery, “Hounding the Pavement,” one of a series of books featuring a crime-solving dog walker and her canine companion on Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side.

Pewter artist Cynthia Gregory has created the NexTail Cup, a traveling cup that will be presented to the vet challenge winner each year. Gregory created the cup out of melted-down pewter and engraved it with paw prints highlighted with enamel paint. Participating vets this year include Bennett’s Creek Veterinary Care, Harbour Veterinary Office, Nansemond Veterinary Clinic, Animal Clinic of Eagle Harbor, The Oaks Veterinary Clinic, Goose Creek Animal Hospital and North Suffolk Animal Clinic.

The top fundraisers who raise over $500 will have a chance to take home a work of art valued at more than $450. Two winners’ names will be drawn from the top five fundraisers who raise more than $500. Each winner could win a pet portrait by Fran Martin Dixon or a glass sculpture by Neil Duman.

Fran Martin Dixon, noted wildlife/pet portrait artist, has been featured in Virginia Outdoors and Virginia Wildlife Video magazine. Each of her paintings is original, personal and has its own unique style. Her portraits usually cost several hundred dollars.

Neil Duman, nationally known glass artist based in Richmond with family ties in Suffolk, has created a special glass sculpture for a prize. Duman was recently featured in the Art of Glass exhibit at the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts.

Also at the event, the Rev. Eileen P. Walsh will conduct a blessing of the animals at 2:45 p.m. People can purchase a dog license, tour the pet disaster trailer partially purchased with funds from last year’s Mutt Strut, and participate in the canine costume contest and Frosty Paws eating contest.

The festival is free and open to the public. It features a walkathon, in which individuals and teams will walk (with or without dogs) for pledges. Registration is $15, and is available at www.suffolkhumanesociety.com.