Walking your dog can be more than just a fun afternoon activity. It could save lives.
Starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow, you can register for this fundraiser that benefits Baltimore’s homeless animals. Enjoy a full day (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) of animal-themed demonstrations, activities, contests and entertainment, while you walk the 1.5 mile loop around Druid Hill Park.
Bring your dogs, of course — the SPCA’s fundraising events are friendly to the furriest members of your family.
You can even bring more than dogs. Tami Gosheff, the SPCA’s special events coordinator, said, “One group of people bring a gigantic turtle every year. Sometimes people bring their cats, ferrets, goats, snakes and a pot-belly pig.”
Last year, the March For the Animals was attended by thousands of people. The event raised more than $360,000. The money is used to provide direct care to the animals in the SPCA’s adoption center. The SPCA adopts out more than 3,000 animals a year, and also spays and neuters more than 8,300 animals a year.
Maryland’s SPCA does not euthanize animals in their shelter if they are not adopted out. Even without a ticking clock, they are still enormously successful in quickly placing their animals in homes. According to Gosheff, a cat’s stay at the shelter only averages ten days, and a dog’s stay is less than five.
Of all the events occurring at tomorrow’s March, the one Gosheff recommends most strongly is the $25 microchipping.
“It’s just a quick injection,” she said. “It’s the absolute best way to safely identify your pet.” The microchip injection goes in the animal’s back neck area and is considered quick and painless. When a homeless animal is dropped off at the SPCA, the first thing the staff does is scan for a microchip.
“Especially with cats,” said Gosheff. “Most lost cats rarely ever get reunited with their owners.”
At the March, dog-owners can participate in a Canine Good Citizen Testing, where a dog can earn a certification. Dogs can also burn off some excitement and have some fun in an agility course. There will be a free dog Heart Health Screening, lots of food, kids’ activities, a face painter, a pet costume contest, and the Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs Demonstration.
Lutherville residents Lisa and Dan Along took their kids, and their dogs, to last year’s March for the Animals, and are doing it again tomorrow.
“It was a lot of fun, actually,” said Lisa. Last year was her first March, so she went with an open mind. “All the dogs were very well behaved. It was fun seeing some of the dogs dressed up. It was a nice group of people, a nice quick jaunt in the morning, a nice mile walk, and then you hang out and enjoy the park. It was a nice turnout. Once you went off the starting line, you didn’t feel congested.”
This year, Lisa is walking with a “Pack,” which is a group of participants that together seek sponsors and raise money for the fundraiser. Her Pack is composed of her coworkers at IMRE, a marketing firm in Sparks, Md.
“There are, I think, 20 of us,” said Lisa. “We’ve got a big box in the [office] kitchen, and we’re collecting donations of towels, pet treats, and doggie treats.”
She’s not sure how much money her Pack has raised yet. “We’re just hoping to do what we can,” she said.
On Sunday, two of her three dogs will be walking in Lisa’s Pack, along with her husband Dan and the kids. She’s bringing Jackson, her three-year-old Golden Retriever, and Viansa, her four-year-old Chocolate Lab, who was named for a winery in California.
Thirteen-year-old Max, an aging Golden Retriever Lab mix, will be left behind to enjoy the peace of a quiet house.
To register in advance for tomorrow’s March, or to see details about the day, click here. Tomorrow’s skies are forecasted to be clear, and sunny, so plan on a nice day to walk with your family and pet. Come on out and March For the Animals.