For 15 years, dogs and their owners have taken to paths at Three Mile Bend en masse to participate in Red Deer and District SPCA’s Bark at the Bend.
The tradition continued Saturday morning with the event raising $15,000 for the SPCA’s spay and neuter program and other veterinarian care.
“We have the most donations online for the event that we’ve ever had. We’re up to like $7,600 online alone,” said SPCA executive director Tara Hellewell.
She said although more people are understanding the importance of getting their dogs fixed, about 80 per cent of dogs that come into the SPCA still need to be spayed or neutered.
The SPCA budgets $80,000 annually for veterinary care and the money raised helps cover the cost of care.
New activities at Saturday’s walkathon, like the pancake breakfast held for the first time last year, have proven popular, she said.
About 60 people came out to support the work of the SPCA. Both canines and their owners were mingling prior to the walk that started at 10 a.m.
“Everyone who loves their dogs, loves to come and show them off,” Hellewell said.
On average, the local SPCA shelter has about 150 animals that need homes.
“We had litters and litters of kittens this spring. It was very intense. The dogs have been increasing as well,” said Lisa Ruether, SPCA fund development co-ordinator.
During the Lazy Days of Summer Kitty Adoption Event, the adoption fee for any cat over four months old is only $25 instead of the regular price of about $100. The fee includes spaying or neutering, vaccinations, microchip, and pet insurance. The event runs until the end of August.
Sara Craig, of Red Deer, brought two of her dogs, Boo and Mouse, both miniature dachshunds who were deaf with poor eyesight.
She adopted them from rescue organizations that help deaf dogs in the United States.
“Everybody who ever gets a deaf dog will be stuck on them,” Craig said.
While she doesn’t usually take her dogs to dog parks, she knew they would be safe at Bark at the Bend because most of the dogs would be on leashes. Chyanne Mason and Taylor Dey adopted their dog, Oliver, an Australian shepherd only three weeks ago from the SPCA.
“He just tugged at our heart strings,” Mason said.
She has always liked the breed and when they saw his picture online at the SPCA, they knew they had to go see him.
“He was the calmest dog in the kennel,” said Dey while scratching Oliver’s ears who was a little intimidated by all the other dogs at the park.
Mason said Oliver’s a people dog, but also gets along with their cat.