Mutts strut for humane cause

Published 8:35 pm Monday, May 5, 2014

Ben and Anne Jones, with their son Liam, adopted a puppy from Suffolk Animal Control at Sunday’s Mutt Strut fundraiser for the Suffolk Humane Society.

Ben and Anne Jones, with their son Liam, adopted a puppy from Suffolk Animal Control at Sunday’s Mutt Strut fundraiser for the Suffolk Humane Society.

Anne Jones didn’t need to say a word to convince her husband the family needed a new puppy.

Holding a mixed-breed female in the adoptions tent at Sunday’s Mutt Strut event, she merely turned to her husband, who was holding their young son on his shoulders, and poked out her lower lip.

With a nod of her husband’s head and some paperwork, the puppy — which Jones said would likely be named Stella — went home with the family from the event at the YMCA Camp Arrowhead on Kenyon Road.

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“We’ve been thinking about a puppy, but it hasn’t been a priority — until I saw her,” said Jones, who added the family previously had a dog that died about a year and a half ago. The puppy was from a litter of six that were a spitz/pug/German shepherd/pit bull mix.

A total of three puppies and two adult dogs were adopted from Suffolk Animal Control at the event, Suffolk Humane Society executive director Michele Thames said. That didn’t include interest expressed in adoptable dogs brought to the event by a variety of rescue organizations.

It was one of many successes for the sixth annual event, which was at its new location after previously being held at Sleepy Hole Park.

More than 60 vendors, sponsors and rescue organizations had booths and displays at the event to attract an estimated 2,000 human attendees, many of whom brought their own dogs, Thames said. It raised about $40,000 for the humane society’s efforts, which include spay/neuter awareness and humane education.

“We just want to help out,” said Kristie Ensley of Bayview Physicians Group, one of a few non-pet-related sponsors. “We want to give back to the community.”

The focus of the event was the pledge walk, for which individuals and teams raised funds for several months. Many participants walked with their dogs, but some — such as Lee Murphy and Debra Jones, who walked in memory of their deceased cats — walked in memory of a pet or in honor of one that was best left at home.

The top individual fundraiser was Fran Duman, and the top team was In Memory of Mya.

Other activities at the event included obedience and agility demonstrations by the Hampton-based Merrimac Dog Training Club and a demonstration by the Suffolk Police Department K-9 unit.

The police also broke out their radar guns to assist with the “Race Like the Wind” contest, where owners called their dogs from some distance away and the police clocked the dog’s running speed.

A costume contest and Frosty Paws eating contest also were held.

Activities strictly for the human set were no less available. Food was up for sale and children could enjoy face painting and other activities. The climbing tower at Camp Arrowhead was manned with instructors and saw steady use throughout the day.

Awards also were given for The Cove-Suffolk News Herald Priceless Pets Photo Pageant. They were:

  • The Cove People’s Choice Award: Kit-Kat, a cat owned by Kimberly Blair and Michael Green
  • Nansemond Veterinary Clinic Judge’s Award: Bear, a dog owned by the Generose and Chaney family
  • Harbour Veterinary Office Groomer’s Award: Lexi, a dog owned by Bob and Karen Stephens
  • Steve A. Gwaltney DDS Special Award: Tyson, a dog owned by Dawn Singletary

See more photos from the event on the Suffolk News-Herald’s Facebook page.