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Mutt Strut kicks off

Mutt Strut kickoff: More than 75 animal lovers turned out to "Yappy Hours" Saturday evening at Mosaics, some even bringing their furry friends. The event served as a kickoff to the annual Mutt Strut event that is planned for Sept. 19 at Sleepy Hole Park.

The curtain might have been drawn at Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts on Saturday night, but the neighboring restaurant was as busy as it is during show-season.

Dozens of people came out to support the Suffolk Humane Society at Mosaics Café’s “Yappy Hours,” a kickoff event for the society’s September Mutt Strut.

“The event was fabulous,” Suffolk Humane spokesperson Kay Hurley said. “It exceeded our expectations. So many people came out, and we had close to a dozen dogs attend with their owners.”

The event offered discounted meal prices and canine-themed beverages to benefit the Suffolk Humane Society. It was attended by more than 75 people, according to Mosaic general manager Shannon Grass.

“We were overwhelmed by the support they received,” Grass said. “We knew there would be a large group, but it was certainly better attended than we had anticipated.”

Celebrity waiters, including Mayor Linda Johnson and Virginia Delegate Chris Jones, were kept busy all evening serving “muttinis” and “catmopolitains.”

“We stayed pretty busy,” said Mike Duman of Mike Duman Auto Sales, also a celebrity waiter. “I flipped a few burgers in high school but was never a waiter. But we sure played an active role. We even brought water to dogs on the patio.”

Hurley did not know exactly how much money was raised from the meals and drinks, but the silent auction brought in $700.

“We had about seven items, and it did pretty well,” Hurley said. “It’s a good jump start to the silent auction that will be at the Mutt Strut. Now that ‘Yappy Hours’ is done, we’re just focused on that home stretch.”

The event is scheduled for Sept. 19, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Sleepy Hole Park.

A pledge walk, demonstrations, pet screenings, microchipping, canine games, rescue groups, pet portraits and food and entertainment all will be on site.

“The event is free, but we need people to sign up to walk,” Hurley said. “That’s how we’re able to put it on, and that’s how we raise our money to help these animals.”

Hurley emphasized that you don’t have to walk to sign up, and you don’t have to have a dog to walk.

“You can be a virtual walker and still raise money for the shelter,; you can walk with a dog or without a dog,” she said. “The point is to support the organization and the things we’re doing to help. It’s a part of Suffolk being a forward-thinking community.”

“There are 430 square miles in the city, and there are a lot of animals that need help,” Duman said. “It’s an important program for everyone.”

To register and begin collecting pledges for the Mutt Strut, call the Suffolk Humane Society at 538-3030 or visit www.firstgiving.com/suffolkhumanesociety.