Paws up for Mutt Strut

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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Photo: Audey

cutline: Audey, Rescue dog; 5 years old – rescued from Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. Owned by Suffolk Humane Society President Margie Wiley.


Mutt Strut 2022 Brings Suffolk Dog Owners & Lovers Together

By James W. Robinson

Contributing Writer

Suffolk residents and their dogs came together once again for the family friendly Mutt Strut.

The 14th annual event for dog lovers and owners, held by the Suffolk Humane Society Saturday, Sept. 24, promotes the humane treatment of animals and raises $35,000 in funds for food donations and medical expenses. The event saw many attendees, vendors, K-9 cops and firefighters alongside food trucks, games, and live music by local band Soul Intent.

Suffolk Humane Society President of the Board Margie Wiley explained the event and its importance to the community.

“We’ve been doing the Mutt Strut, it’s our 14th annual one, and the event is just what it is — it’s people coming out and enjoying the day, bringing their dogs out, socializing, getting a chance to interact with vendors… a lot of them are dog and cat oriented. Doing an education, a lot of the K-9 cops are gonna be out here… so, it’s just family and fun.”

Suffolk Humane Society Executive Director and Event Coordinator Kerri Shallcross spoke on the event’s history and the goal of the animal care center.

“The Suffolk Humane Society was started years ago by some dedicated volunteers that knew we needed help for the animals in Suffolk and we have been going since 2007,” Shallcross said. “Our main focus is to promote education and insure animal companion bonds.”

She said the SHS is striving to have more education on spay and neuter programs, on adoption versus buying.

“We always like to say ‘adopt, don’t shop,’” Shallcross said. “It’s all about educating everyone about how overpopulated the animals are in the world, it’s not just here in Suffolk, it’s the entire world and more spay and neutering done is less feral cats and less unadoptable animals or animals that are roaming the streets or being neglected.”

The organization is here in the community to promote education, she said, along with helping any Suffolk resident in need of any animal care that they have.

Saver of Souls (S.O.S) Pet Rescue, Suffolk Public Library, Dolly Poochies and More and the Suffolk Animal Hospital were among the vendors that came out to the event.

Suffolk Animal Hospital owner and veterinarian Amber Carr talked about her continued support for the Suffolk Humane Society.

“Suffolk Animal Hospital is a full-service veterinary clinic and we are out here again this year, happy to support the mission of the Suffolk Humane Society and also to provide additional help for them and just be involved here with our local community,” Carr saud,

The Mutt Strut also saw a change in time this year. Shallcross talked about the date and time change, moving it to 2-8 p.m. on to provide easier access for Suffolk residents.

“We used to do them on Sundays from 11 (a.m.) to (5 p.m.), but a lot of people had issues with it being on a Sunday,” Shallcross said. “Church, other gatherings, that type of thing. So we decided this year we were going to try it on a Saturday.”

Aside from the time change, the general format remained the same for the event. Shallcross said the simple structure of the Mutt Strut has provided for its continued success during its 14 year run.

“I think this event kind of hits everyone because it’s family friendly,” she said. “It’s dog friendly, and then it’s also just being able to come out to sit and relax to watch the band. Have a cup of drinks, have some food, and just have a relaxing time.”


Wiley said she hopes people come away from the event with a better understanding of the importance of people and their pets.

“The awareness of being a responsible pet owner and companion animal owner in the city of Suffolk,” Wiley said. “Knowing the Suffolk Humane Society is not a nationally funded organization. We are only here in Suffolk and all of our funding comes from folks who are here in the community.”