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Walkers needed at Mutt Strut

Walking dogs: Walkers at last year’s Mutt Strut stroll with their pooches to raise money for the Suffolk Humane Society. Room for walkers at this year’s event still is available.

For the past three years, the Suffolk Humane Society has been speaking up for the voiceless — albeit barking and meowing — residents of Suffolk.

The society will hold its third annual Mutt Strut dog walk and festival — its largest fundraiser — on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. at Sleepy Hole Park.

“One of the ways you judge a community is by how it treats its most helpless residents — whether it’s children, elderly, impoverished or the ill,” said Kay Hurley of Suffolk Humane. “Animals are in that category, as well. We’re part of creating a community that is more forward thinking, and it takes support from the community to get our job done.”

The event will include a pledge walk, dog demonstrations, pet health screenings, canine games and contests, rescue groups, children’s activities, entertainment, silent auction, prizes, food and vendors. Nearly 30 vendors and 25 rescue groups will be on site.

“We grow each year with the number of vendors who come out,” Hurley said. “It’s a blessing to have that support from local businesses.”

While the event is entirely free to attend, an important aspect of the event is its pledge walk. Participants can collect pledges to walk or be a “ghost walker.”

Approximately 100 walkers were signed up as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Hurley.

“We’re significantly down from last year’s 275 walkers,” Hurley said. “A very important part of it is our walk. We need people to sign up to walk. You can register and raise pledge beforehand. You can register that day. You can register to walk with your dog or without one. You can even be a virtual walker and not be there.”

A Bank Day will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mike Duman Auto Sales. People can also turn in their pledge money.

Several options are available to donate. Visit www.firstgiving.com/suffolkhumanesociety, pay through the website with PayPal, mail a check to Suffolk Humane at P.O. Box 5038, Suffolk, VA 23435, or come to Mutt Strut and donate there. Those who bring a $50 donation will receive an event T-shirt, while supplies last.