May 15, 2013 - There's only one thing better than taking a dog for a walk on a glorious spring day and that's doing it for a truly worthy cause that strives to make life better for man's best friend.
Terri Dodge (left) and Kelly Barker, two of the K-9 Stray Rescue League volunteers who help coordinate the Wag & Walk fund-raiser every year. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Folks will have the opportunity to do just that on Saturday, May 18 as the Third Annual Wag & Walk fund-raiser will take place in Oxford's Powell Lake Township Park from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the K-9 Stray Rescue League, located at 2120 Metamora Rd. in Oxford Twp. The group provides shelter and care to homeless dogs until they can be adopted into loving homes.
"It's a family-friendly event with lots of fun things to do," said Terri Dodge, one ofthe Rescue League volunteers who's helping to coordinate the fund-raiser. "It's always enjoyable. I was concerned about the weather, but it looks like it's actually going to be a nice day."
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 Powell Lake Township Park, located adjacent to the Oxford Public Library (530 Pontiac Rd.).
"You can bring your dog, but you don't have to bring a dog," Dodge said. "You can take an early morning walk without your dog. Or you can come with a group of friends and walk."
Dodge noted both of the event's walking routes form a "loop."
"You start at the park and then you end up back at the park," she said.
Those who wish to register prior to the event are encouraged to do so by visiting www.dogsaver.org/k9srl. Advance registrations will end at 12 noon on Friday, May 17. The cost is $15 for an individual and $30 for a family. The registration fee includes a T-shirt.
Folks who wish to register the day of the event can do so at the park from 9-11 a.m. However, registration fees that day will increase to $20 for individuals and $40 for families. A T-shirt will still be included.
Dodge is hoping more people will sign up because as of Monday, May 13 only 56 participants were scheduled to walk.
"We're encouraging walk-ins this year," she said. No pun intended.
This is a major fund-raising event for the K-9 Stray Rescue League, which is staffed entirely by volunteers and runs solely on donations. "It's very vital to our operation," Dodge said.
She explained proceeds from the Wag & Walk will be used to help maintain the kennel facility and provide the dogs housed there with everything they need from food to medical care.
"Right now, we are completely filled to capacity with homeless dogs that need care," Dodge said. "We have a quite a full load."
Last year's Wag & Walk raised more than $5,000.
"We're hoping to beat that," Dodge said.
In addition to walking a trail noted for its natural beauty, Wag & Walk participants will have an opportunity to visit with a pet psychic, have a portrait of their dog taken by a professional photographer, receive free nail trimmings courtesy of a professional dog groomer, shop pet-related vendors and enjoy refreshments.
Pieces of agility equipment, such as jumps and tunnels, will be available for visiting dogs to try out.
"We're also going to have games for the kids and dog contests," Dodge said.
The dog contests will begin at 10 a.m. and include categories such as "best tail wag" and "fastest peanut butter licker."
"We're going to put peanut butter on a spoon and see which dog can lick it off the fastest," Dodge said.
The Wag & Walk will conduct a silent auction and lots of prize giveaways.
"We will be doing giveaways every 20 minutes," Dodge said. "We've got gift certificates. We've got baskets from pet supply stores. We've got a $100 gift certificate from Guido's (Premium) Pizza)."
There will be plenty of educational opportunities at the Wag & Walk as well.
At 9:30 a.m., Dr. Patrick Glidden, a veterinarian from the Lakeville Animal Clinic, will speak about emergency pet care. The doctor will take center stage again at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the topic of pet nutrition.
At 11 a.m., an officer from the Oakland County Sheriff's K-9 Unit will talk about the dogs who serve and protect the public and the numerous functions they perform for the law enforcement agency.
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.