Woof Meow Party: Community fun benefits shelter dogs and cats

Walk/Run for the Animals blends sport and festivities to support 8,000-plus animals

VANCOUVER — There’s no scene quite like it: 1,000 people and 800 dogs come out in full force to celebrate in Vancouver’s Esther Short Park. For some, the annual Humane Society for Southwest Washington (HSSW) fundraiser is a family reunion, as many tail-wagging dogs on site were adopted from the shelter. For others, HSSW’s Walk/Run for the Animals is a chance to win, place, and show with their dogs in a chip-timed 5K run, or a 3-mile walk – all to raise money for shelter animals.

“People really get into the lighthearted spirit of the event,” says Stacey Graham, president of HSSW. “Fundraising teams dress up to show their solidarity, dogs come in costumes to delight the kid in all of us, and the array of available activities when runners, walkers and their dogs have finished their routes holds something for everyone.”  

Party in the park

Kids will swarm around Joe Mishkin the balloon guy as he creates colorful balloon creations for them. Magician Kevin Allen will rove the park astounding onlookers. Sherman the Therapy Dog – an intuitive 200+ pound mastiff – will bring his extremely gentle presence to the event. Rojo the Llama (from Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas) will make a return appearance to offer more “carrot kisses” or pose for people who want to take a photo with the friendly, popular llama.  Nearly 40 pet-friendly businesses will be on hand in the Vendor Village, including Doggie First Aid provided by Columbia River Veterinary Specialists and Bloodworks Northwest, who will be hosting a blood drive. Those over 21 years of age can relax with handcrafted brews in Heathen Brewing’s beer garden.

Get moving!

Anyone can register for the 3-mile walk or 5K run (one of the only dog-friendly chip-timed runs in the Northwest!), join a fundraising team or start their own until May 4 at 9 a.m. (the day of the event). Online registrations can be received until Friday, May 3 at 5 p.m. Donate to your favorite team or the Walk/Run general fund!

Participants get a special treat for crossing the finish line, and runners receive finisher’s medals. Registration also includes an event bag with goodies for people and pets. This year HSSW will have pace signs for runners to organize the pack into staged start times according to their average per-mile running speed.

Monies raised through Walk/Run for the Animals support adoption services, medical support, food and shelter for HSSW animals as well as related community programs.

Event Details

Date:    Sat., May 4

Location: Esther Short Park; W. 6th & Columbia, Vancouver, Washington

Times:  7:30 a.m. – Registration area opens; Vendor Village opens

8 a.m. – Beer garden and Team Chalet (for teams earning $500 or more in fundraising)

9 a.m. – Run starts.

9:05 a.m. – Walkers leave in waves

7:30–11:30 a.m. — Party in the Park

10:30 a.m. – Runner awards

11 a.m. – Fundraising awards

Cost: Walkers: $45 through April 30; $50 May 1 – 3; $55 May 4 (event day); kids 12 and under free with a registered adult.

           Runners: $50 through April 30; $55 May 1 – 3; $60 May 4 (event day); kids 12 and under free with a registered adult.

Participate: Registration for the event is now available at hssw.org/walk-run

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