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Wag & Walk to benefit dog rescue



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K-9 Stray Rescue League volunteer Kelly Barker (left) poses while her fellow volunteer Terri Dodge gets a big wet kiss. The dogs are Mya and Patches. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
May 09, 2012 - Powell Lake Township Park in Oxford will literally go to the dogs on Saturday, May 19.

That's because the K-9 Stray Rescue League will host its Second Annual Wag & Walk fund-raiser from 9-10:30 a.m.

"Last year, we had over 200 people walk, so we're hoping for another big turnout this year," said Terri Dodge, one of the rescue league volunteers who's coordinating this event. "It's a morning filled with fun and we're hoping everybody will join us. It's for the whole family, so bring your dogs."

Participants are invited to sign up and show their support for the group by walking one or two miles of the Polly Ann Trail, which is connected to the township park, located adjacent to the Oxford Public Library (530 Pontiac Rd.).

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While folks are invited to bring their dogs for the morning stroll, Dodge noted it's not required. "If people want to just come and walk the trail without their best friend, they're welcome, too," she said.

Wag & Walk will feature free refreshments, free games (with prizes) for the kiddies, free dog training tips from Bark Busters, pet photo portraits, readings by a pet psychic and a variety of vendors, selling everything from nature photos to Avon products to pet-related services and supplies.

There will also be doggie contests galore with prizes awarded for sloppiest kiss, best dressed, best tail wag and best trick. Again, these contests are for the dogs, not the owners.

"We have lots of prizes," Dodge said. "We have gift cards to restaurants. We have dog baskets filled with all kinds of goodies. We'll have prize giveaways every 15 minutes."

Dogs who are currently available for adoption through the rescue league will also be at the event.

"We'll probably have seven to 10 (dogs) for people to meet," said Dodge, noting the rescue league found loving homes for approximately 450 canines in 2011.

Folks who wish to preregister for the Wag & Walk can do so by visiting www.dogsaver.org/k9srl, the group's website created by Oxford High School students. Preregistration costs $15 for individuals and $30 per family. Those who sign up early will be eligible to win a $25 VISA gift card and receive a free Wag & Walk t-shirt.

"Right now, we're way behind in our preregistration forms. I have like 26 signed up," said Dodge, who encouraged folks to take advantage of this special offer.

Those who wish to register on the day of the event can do so beginning at 9 a.m. The fee increases to $20 for individuals and $40 for families.

The K-9 Stray Rescue League is hoping to raise as much money as possible to help its four-legged friends.

"Last year, we raised $5,000 – we'd like to exceed that," Dodge said. "We do have local sponsors, but they pay for our (event) t-shirts. So, we really count on the participants to raise money (through) the registrations we receive. This year, I would love to hit $7,000."

Proceeds from Wag & Walk will be used to help maintain the K-9 Stray Rescue League's kennel facilities at 2120 Metamora Rd. in Oxford Twp. and help pay for the $10,000 worth of new surgical equipment it needs to upgrade and modernize its surgical facilities for spaying and neutering the dogs it rescues.

Earlier this year, the group was awarded a $10,000 grant from the state to buy this equipment, however, the money isn't provided up front.

The rescue league must first purchase it using its own funds, then get reimbursed by the state.

"I think we've purchased over $2,000 worth of equipment so far," Dodge said. "We need this money (from the Wag & Walk), so we can buy the rest."

The rescue league generally adopts out about 500 dogs each year and it's estimated that at least 90 percent of them must be fixed before a good home is found for them. The whole idea is to reduce the unwanted pet population.

In addition to raising money, Dodge indicated the Wag & Walk is also a great way to increase public awareness about the rescue league itself and all the good work it does.

"A lot of people don't know we're tucked back in there on Metamora Rd," she said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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