Mutt Strut set for May 4

Published 9:44 pm Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dogs and their people will have more room to roam, have fun and raise money for the Suffolk Humane Society at this year’s Mutt Strut.

The sixth annual event will move to the YMCA’s Camp Arrowhead on Kenyon Road after several years at Sleepy Hole Park.

“It’s getting bigger,” Humane Society Executive Director Michele Thames said. “Our board and volunteers really believe in promoting that human-animal bond and being active with them. That’s what the YMCA is all about. You can do so many different activities with your dog outside, so it seemed like a really good decision.”

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The event will take place May 4 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.

“I am very happy and very excited about the opportunity to partner with the humane society on this amazing event,” said Rick Matthews, YMCA’s district vice president. “I am proud and honored to be able to provide such a beautiful site for everyone to enjoy.”

The venue is the only major change this year, Thames said. The event will include all the elements people have come to love about Mutt Strut — the pledge walk, vendors, entertainment, canine contests, demonstrations, a silent auction, rescue groups, pet health screenings, adoptable animals on display and more.

The primary fundraising feature of the event, the pledge walk, will allow humans to walk with or without their dogs. Registration for the walk is $20, and walkers can set up a personal fund-raising website to get pledges from others.

“This year, one of our big focuses is going to be raising funds,” Thames said. “We’re really encouraging folks to start a team.”

The canine contests will be run this year by the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Animal Lovers Club as a year-end project for the students. The contests in the past have included a canine costume contest and a Frosty Paws eating contest.

Sponsors and vendors still are welcome, but the cut-off date for sponsors to be listed on promotional materials is March 31.

“Not only is the event vital to helping Suffolk Humane continue its programs, but it is a fun event for the whole family, including the pets,” Thames said. “We look forward to exceeding expectations this year as we did last year.”

The event is free to attend. For more information on Mutt Strut, visit www.suffolkhumanesociety.com or call 538-3030. Register to fund-raise at www.firstgiving.com/suffolkhumanesociety.