Teen seeks items for Mutt Strut yard sale

Published 7:22 pm Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sam, the 7-year-old miniature schnauzer owned by rising King’s Fork High School sophomore Chelsey Atkinson, doesn’t know he’s the official spokesdog for the Suffolk Humane Society’s Mutt Strut.

But the dog has become famous since Chelsey was the top fundraiser for last year’s event.

Spokesdog: Sam, a 7-year-old miniature schnauzer, got the privilege of being the spokesdog for this year’s Mutt Strut because his owner, 14-year-old Chelsey Atkinson, was the top fundraiser for the event last year.

“We’re thrilled she was our top fundraiser last year,” said Suffolk Humane Society community outreach coordinator Kay Hurley. “Not only youth fundraiser, but fundraiser in general.”

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The top fundraiser for each Mutt Strut earns her dog the privilege of being the spokesdog for the next year’s event. Chelsey is already hoping Sam will be the spokesdog next year, as well.

“I just want to help animals,” Chelsey said. “I would do anything for an animal. They’re just so lovable.”

Last year, Chelsey held a gigantic yard sale that helped catapult her to the lead in the fundraising. But she also gave donations cans to her parents to place at their workplaces.

She’s holding a similar yard sale on Aug. 6 to benefit this year’s Mutt Strut. She’s still collecting items for the event.

“Chelsey is an incredible teenager,” said Hurley, who added that Chelsey also was the top fundraiser in 2009. “Her sense of compassion is so developed. I hope she’s an inspiration to other kids and to adults, too. The more children have that sort of compassion, our community would be better and the world would be better.”

Besides Sam, Chelsey has two cats.

“They’re friends and everything,” Chelsey said. “The dog gets along fine with them. He’s just a laid-back dog.”

Besides helping animals, Chelsey enjoys listening to music and watching “Gunsmoke” with her father.

The organization’s fourth annual Mutt Strut will be held Sept. 18 at Sleepy Hole Park. The event has become the society’s signature fundraiser that welcomes more than 4,000 people each year.

For more information on Mutt Strut, or to donate items for Chelsey’s yard sale, call 538-3030, email info@suffolkhumanesociety.com or visit www.suffolkhumanesociety.com.