Mutt Strut — it’s not just for mutts

Published 8:30 pm Saturday, August 27, 2011

Despite its name, the Mutt Strut fundraiser event isn’t just for mutts.

The Suffolk Humane Society helps cats as well as dogs, and the event set for Sept. 18 raises money for both.

“We have a lot of medical expenses,” said Lee Murphy, who is director of fosters and adoptions with the Suffolk Humane Society. “We also need food and litter and bedding. I have a budget I have to stay within.”

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Volunteers working for the humane society adopt cats from Suffolk Animal Control. The cats receive their vaccinations against distemper and rabies, tested for FIV and leukemia, and are spayed or neutered.

The cats are fostered in family homes until they are ready to be adopted. They then go to one of two PetSmart locations — Chesapeake Square or Harbour View — so potential adopters can see the available cats.

But the PetSmart locations desperately need volunteers.

“We do need a lot of volunteers,” Murphy said.

The volunteers spend time with the cats and let them out of their cages so they can stretch their legs. Volunteers also clean the cages and litter pans and ensure they have enough food and water.

Perhaps the most important job of the PetSmart volunteers is marketing the cats to potential adopters.

“The volunteers are also there to interact with the public so that if somebody comes in and they’re interested in adopting the cats, they can tell them a little bit about the personalities,” Murphy said.

Volunteers can spend only an hour there during a shift, or as much as two or three hours. They also can volunteer as often as they like.

“It’s as much or as little as you want to be involved,” Murphy said, noting that some people do three shifts a week while others come in once every two weeks.

But to provide supplies and medical care for the cats, the humane society needs money.

“We depend a lot on donations,” Murphy said.

The humane society’s biggest fundraiser, Mutt Strut, is coming up on Sept. 18. People are encouraged to form teams for the event. Dog owners can walk with their dog, but others can walk in honor of a cat or any other pet, or just because.

In addition to the pledge walk, the event will include a silent auction, pet- and people-friendly vendors, food, canine demonstrations, animal rescue organizations, prizes, children’s activities and more. Registration for the walk is $15 with a suggested $50 minimum in collected pledges. The rest of the event is free to the public.

For more information about Mutt Strut, visit