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Los Angeles and Salt Lake headline the first weekend of Strut Your Mutt 2012

By end of the day this Saturday, September 29th, Strut Your Mutt (SYM) events in nine cities will be on the books, and, if the first weekend of “Struts” is anything to go by, we will have raised over $1 million for local rescue efforts.

On September 22nd, SYM in Los Angeles raised over $390,000; Salt Lake over $200,000; Lafayette, Louisiana, over $60,000. Baltimore, Maryland, beat their target of $25,000 by more than $2,000, and St. Louis, Missouri, topped $32,000.

Wowzer! What a great weekend for the animals, and here’s a peek at how things shaped up in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

Salt Lake, home to the original Best Friends Strut You Mutt in 1995, had more than 2,500 dog walkers, with pledges in excess of $200,000, cross the finish line at Liberty Park in central Salt Lake. Participants were really into the event and showed off a lot of team spirit. Delta Airlines, for example, was the top corporate fundraising Dog Pack. Their Delta Force Team raised almost $6,000, while South Valley Princesses were the top Friends/Family Dog Pack at $8,150. Roxanne Mashburn recruited enough pledges to take top honors for individual fundraiser with $7,775. Diamond Dogs was the top small company Dog Pack at $2,280, and Second Chance for Homeless Pets raised $17,735 for their local animal work as the top No More Homeless Pets Network partner.

Los Angeles participants, in only the third year of SYM for that city, knocked it out of the park – Pan Pacific Park, in the mid-Wilshire area, to be specific. The Strut included a parade of over 3,000 walkers that encircled the perimeter of the park loosely bunched according to the organizations they were walking for. Volunteers, holding arrow signs that pointed the route, cheered for them.

Being Los Angeles, there were some TV and film notables getting their strut on – Emma Kenney, teenage star of “Shameless,” led her Hollywood Mutts Dog Pack that included model and reality star Joanna Krupa and Marlane Barnes of the “Twilight Saga,” Jason Grey-Stanford of “Monk” fame, along with Michael Trucco, Tricia Helfer and Lesley-Ann Brandt, while “My Cat from Hell” star Jackson Galaxy cheered everyone on.

Top fundraising honors went to NKLA partner Much Love Animal Rescue that garnered $71,000 for their lifesaving work, while the single top money raiser, Randi Goldman, founder of Lhasa Happy Homes, rounded up $41,000 for her cause. Paul and Barbara Caplan-Bennets’ Friends/Family Dog Pack, Capnett, won their category, and Toyopets, a company team from event sponsor Toyota, were top fundraisers in the corporate category, walking for Best Friends Los Angeles. Special thanks to Best Friends Pup Strutters, a pack comprised of mostly volunteers for Best Friends – Los Angeles who took some time off from their invaluable work at Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center to walk the course and raise some pledges for SYM.

The importance of Strut Your Mutt as a way of generating lifesaving revenue for local groups can’t be overstated. Rather than having to divert months of volunteer hours to various fundraising tasks and chores, groups can plug into a SYM, a high-profile community event, leverage the asset that Best Friends offers, and with little pain or strain, walk off with a bundle of money that will enable them to cover medical, boarding, training, promotions and other rescue work essentials.

This weekend, Struts will take place in Austin, Texas; New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Jacksonville, Florida, and there’s still time to help your favorite rescue with a pledge or by registering to walk with a Dog Pack in one of these cities. Visit strutyourmutt.org for details.

Gregory Castle, CEO emeritus, Best Friends Animal Society Gregory Castle
CEO emeritus
Best Friends Animal Society