Mutt Strut deserves support

Published 9:40 pm Monday, September 12, 2011

I’ve always been more of a cat person. So sue me.

Don’t get me wrong — I’ve always loved dogs, as well. It’s just that I gravitate more toward buying cute cat toys than toward throwing a stinky, slobbery ball around a yard for a dog to catch.

But I love all animals. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian when I grew up. But when I realized that job would involve math, science and euthanizing animals, my future career aspirations moved on to nursing — something that also didn’t work out, for two of the three aforementioned reasons.

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When I turned 10 years old, my biggest dream up until that point was realized. I became the proud owner of Whiskers, who was at that time a 9-week-old kitten.

I had my heart set on a black cat when we arrived at the Newport News SPCA, but there were no black cats in residence there at the time. Whiskers came close enough — she was a black-and-gray tabby who mewed meekly and padded to the front of the cage to sniff our fingers when I walked by, parents and grandmother in tow.

Being a kitten and relatively healthy, Whiskers surely would have been snapped up within days, if not hours, if I had not showed up at just the right moment. She had only been there a couple of days, having been left by a family who purchased her from a pet store and wasn’t prepared to take care of her.

Nearly 17 years later, Whiskers still lives the life of luxury with my grandmother in Newport News, at the house where I grew up. They keep each other company, but only one of them rules the household — you can guess which one.

Here in Suffolk, homeless animals like Whiskers once was are helped by two organizations — Suffolk Animal Control and Suffolk Humane Society.

Animal Control is funded with tax dollars, but the humane society operates solely on donations and fundraising events, like the one coming up this Sunday.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve done numerous stories on humane society volunteers who help foster adoptable animals, raise money for the society and even have adopted their own dogs at Mutt Strut.

Mutt Strut is a fun event for the entire family and your dogs. It is free and open to the public, except for the money-making portion — the pledge walk.

To participate in the pledge walk, you just need to pay $15 to register and collect a minimum number of pledges. You don’t even have to have a “mutt” to participate. You can walk in honor of your cat, bird, fish, hamster, snake or other pet, in memory of any animal, or just because you care.

Other activities will include a showcase of adoptable dogs, the Virginia Foxtrotters, doggie demonstrations, a Blessing of the Animals, The Flying Jacks, a canine costume contest, children’s activities, nearly 20 rescue groups, and more.

The humane society could use your help with their mission of finding homes for homeless animals, humane education and abuse prevention. Find out more about Mutt Strut at