The annual Mutt Strut & Pet Expo hosted by the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter perennially garners the largest gathering of pet fans in the area, but in year number seven, the Friends pledge that it will be the “luckiest” ever.
According to Friends’ Development Director Kelle Sisung, “On Saturday, May 12, more than 2,450 rescues will be tremendously lucky because they benefit from so many committed strutters.”
Central to the Mutt Strut, which is sponsored by Dearborn Family Pet Care, is a 1.9 mile pledge-driven walk that encourages all skill levels to leash up their dogs and strut with family and friends. The leisurely walk runs adjacent to Michigan Avenue, Dearborn’s major thoroughfare, and provides businesses a chance to showcase themselves to new visitors to the city. The expo portion is a community-wide animal celebration that takes place at Ford Field Park in Dearborn, and features an array of free, fun activities, including:
- Detroit Lions meet-and-greet session prior to the walk start
- Ribbon cutting featuring Danielle Car of Fresh 100 and Bill McAllister from 97.l The Ticket, along with their pup Maple, who was adopted from the Friends
- Chihuahua Reunion, featuring the dogs rescued in August 2009, and their new loving families
- Former Detroit Tiger Milt Wilcox and his Ultimate Air Dogs
- K-9 Fun Run, a luring-style race for family pets to unleash their energy
- Doggie Fun Zone sponsored by Pet Supplies Plus, offering games and contests galore
- Health Zone focusing on healthy lifestyles for people and pets
- Midway of local and eco-friendly vendors with pet-related items
During the first six years, Mutt Strut supporters have raised over $310,000 directly benefiting more than 15,000 rescues. This year, the fundraising goal is $60,000 and businesses, organizations, and individuals are leading the charge to better that number, with over $15,000 already raised. Pledging is made easy with personalized online web pages that teams and individuals can set up in minutes.
Sisung continued, “Because strutters pledge to help homeless animals in need, the Friends pledge to celebrate their supporters.” Held on Mother’s Day weekend, “Rescue Moms" will be especially honored and new for 2012, event sponsors and strutters who raise over $300 will gain entry to the Hound Lounge. The Lounge, sponsored by Yelp.com, is a VIP area featuring premiere registration, complimentary food, doggie services and free gifts.
More than 3,000 supporters and walkers are expected to turn out on Saturday, May 12, to participate in the Mutt Strut & Pet Expo. Walk-up registration begins at 9 a.m., with ribbon cutting and the walk starting at 11 a.m.; activities continue to 3 p.m.