Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good weather and event better turnout boost Walk & Wag fundraiser

By Lisa Carolin, AnnArbor.com

The Humane Society of Huron Valley couldn't have asked for better weather or a better turnout today — of people or dogs.
The 32nd annual Walk & Wag, its biggest fundraiser of the year, brought in more than $156,000, as more than 1,200 people and 600 dogs participated, according to marketing director Deb Kern.
It was the first time that the event had a major sponsor — Arbor Research Collaborative for Health.
The venue, County Farm Park, was like a canine spa and shopping center complete with dog massage therapists, a pet psychic, information on doggy day care and pet lodges, and games like bobbing for weenies and the great biscuit search. There was even a "Come and Kiss the Bull" booth featuring Oscar, a pit bull/boxer mix.
"There is nobody Oscar doesn't like and that includes cats," said Humane Society volunteer Leonard Vier. "Most pit bulls are that way. Just like in every dog breed, there are some that aren't that friendly."
Humane Society "celebrity spokesdog'' Marie, also a pit bull, is another example of a friendly pit bull.
"She's a perfect example of what the Humane Society is doing to socialize these dogs," said owner David Crouse of Ann Arbor, who adopted 16-month-old Marie just after Christmas. "She and her brother Donnie were abandoned when they were puppies. Marie is sweet and loving and just wants to please. She's a great ambassador."
Astrid Haakinstad, a veterinary technician from Belleville, is a firm believer in adopting dogs from the Humane Society, and had 9-year-old fox hound mix Harry by her side to prove it.
Jill Hasen of Ann Arbor wholeheartedly agrees. She adopted Ginger two years ago from the Huron Valley Humane Society. "She's awesome!" said Hasen. "I wish I knew what kind of dog she was. Everyone has an opinion. I did a DNA test and she's a mix of Australian Cattle dog, Italian greyhound, Dalmatian, Scottish Terrier and more."
There were also a lot of purebreds at the Walk & Wag, including Sheryl Woloskie's three Westies, Kirby, Dulcie and Lilly, from Milan. "I get involved in this event every year because it's such a good cause and such a good way to socialize my dogs," she said.
Contributing to the cause was the reason Jane Laing came all the way from Dowagiac to join her daughter Maggie Laing and her 150-pound Newfoundland Angus. "These dogs are called gentle giants," said Jane Laing, about the massive black dog who was relaxing in the shade.
Volunteers walked potential adoptees from the Humane Society. According to Kern, 1,452 animals have come in through intake at the shelter between Jan. 1 and April 30 this year, and 850 have been adopted. "There are a lot of adult dogs that need homes," she said.
It costs between $150 and $170 to adopt a larger adult dog, and $225 to adopt a small dog or puppy, and those prices include spaying or neutering and vaccinating the dog, as well as implanting an identification microchip.
Kern also wants to remind people that 2011 is the year of the cat, and you can pick your price from $10 on up when you adopt an adult cat. Kittens cost $100, and the second one is free. For more information, go to the Humane Society of Huron Valley web site.

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