Chautauqua Barks

The fourth annual Sheyenne Valley Friends of Animals Walk-And-Wag-Athon will be held all day Saturday at Chautauqua Park’s dog park. Event organizer Tracy Lee said the fundraiser has been increasing successful since it began as an effort to raise funds to build the dog park. Now the group uses the money it raises at the Walk-And-Wag to offset the medical expenses for animals in their foster program. The SVFA spays/neuters and microchips every animal in the program for what Lee estimated was an average of $230 per animal.

“It’s really important because about 90 percent of the animals that are lost are not reunited with their families because they don’t have proper identification,” Lee said. “So we try to make sure that all of our animals have a chance to be found and reunited no matter what.”

Lee credited the community for making the fundraiser a success for the group, which turned five years old in June.

“It’s been really great; we have a really supportive community. Last year it was a little down because of the rain and we had changed the date on it,” she said. “Early on it was really big but then last year it was a little slower, so we’re hoping for another big year. We’ve always pretty much topped what we made the previous year, so we’re excited to see how we do this year. There’s a lot of new things that we haven’t done previously.”

The event is open to the public at 9 a.m. with the walk beginning at 11 a.m. A free-will donation breakfast and lunch will be offered and a photographer will be on hand to shoot, print and frame pet portraits. New this year, pets will be able create animal artwork for their owners which will also be framed.

Volunteers will help dip dogs’ paws in a washable paint and provide them with a canvas to “paint” on.

“You always want to remember your pets and this is something that makes it really easy to do. For us, we’re charging a small fee, and for them, they get to have a lifetime memory, so we’re pretty excited about that,” Lee said.

Also making their Walk-And-Wag debut on Saturday are a dog-obedience team of 4-H members and their trained dogs.

“Some of them are adopted dogs from SVFA and they (4-H members) have amazing talent for being so young and having super control over their animals, it’s really impressive,” said Lee.

A pet supply rummage sale will also be held during the event, with proceeds going to benefit the SVFA.

Lee said the community support shows in the amount of donated items the group receives through out the year

“We get a lot of donated items, and like I said, our community is so supportive,” she said. “We can’t always use all the pet clothes that they’ve donated to us or the dog beds. We have a small storage unit, so we’re selling off some of that to make room. We’ve had some different groups make blankets and dog beds for us to sell, a couple place mats, just little things here and there that people have donated to us so we can make a little extra money for SVFA.”