Nationwide Strut Across America

Strut Your Mutt, the fundraising dog walk for homeless animals from Best Friends, goes national with inaugural virtual event.
By Aimee Larsen

Asked about the benefits of participating in the upcoming Strut Across America, Martina Keil, operations director and adoption coordinator for the Oregon Outback Humane Society (OOHS), answered with a familiar parable: "It’s kind of like, ‘Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach the man to fish, he will never go hungry.’ We already knew how to fish, we just really needed a better fishing pole. Thanks to Best Friends we have one — virtual Strut Your Mutt!"

Indeed, the exciting news this year is that by going virtual, Strut Your Mutt has expanded to all 50 states, allowing strutters to take part wherever they live, from Juneau, Alaska, to Tallahassee, Florida, and everywhere in between.

Strut Across America

Taking place during Strut Your Mutt Week, September 18-25, 2011, the virtual Strut Across America is open to Best Friends’ No More Homeless Pets Network partners to raise money for their groups and to other groups and individuals who want to support Best Friends or participating local animal welfare organizations in bringing about a time of No More Homeless Pets.

People with their dogs participating in a Best Friends' Strut Your Mutt event
Be a part of this national, collaborative initiative.

Greta Palmer, national events manager for Best Friends, explains, "It’s a way for our No More Homeless Pets Network partners to fundraise using our Strut Your Mutt brand as their platform, so they are able to utilize our existing resources, such as the Strut Your Mutt website and PR opportunities, as well as be part of a national, collaborative initiative where almost 100 animal rescue groups across the country are joining forces for the same cause — to raise money and awareness for homeless pets."

"And for our Best Friends members," Greta continues, "it’s a way to get involved in their communities to help support Best Friends."

Raising Money for a Good Cause

Various animal groups are raising money through their participation in Strut Across America to support their lifesaving work with the animals.

OOHS, for instance, has the goal of raising enough money to build a cattery. Martina explains, "Often, we just need a temporary spot for some kittens to wait till they are transferred to a shelter in a larger area. … Having a place where we can assess the cats and allow some of the adult cats a chance to work on their social graces would be amazing."

Numerous No More Homeless Pets Network partners have formulated marketing strategies to get the most out of their participation in the Strut. In addition to holding a special walk for Strut Across America, OOHS, which has raised nearly $1,300 so far, is promoting their participation via social networking websites, the radio, flyers, sponsorship incentives and collaboration with other local charities.

Basset hound dressed up for the Strut Your Mutt charity walk
Get struttin'!

Other groups, including Alamo Area Partners for Animal Welfare, which has raised over $1,500 so far, and All About Labs, which has raised over $2,100 so far, are spreading the word about their involvement in the Strut via social networking sites, email and various websites.

Registering for Strut Across America

Registration for Strut Across America is absolutely free. Participants choose to sign up as an Individual Walker, Friends and Family, or Corporate Dog Pack to raise money for Best Friends or as a No More Homeless Pets Network Dog Pack to raise money for that particular nonprofit. Walkers create a fundraising page on the Strut Your Mutt website and then promote their participation by encouraging friends, family and others to make a donation to the cause.

During Strut Your Mutt Week, individual walkers and animal welfare groups take a special walk with their dogs in honor of homeless pets.

Catherine Morrison-Stokely, finance committee member for Alamo Area Partners for Animal Welfare, says, "We are hoping to coordinate small walks around the city. So far one is scheduled for September 24 on the northeast side of San Antonio. Another is in the planning stages for a central location."

Participants in the countrywide Strut are encouraged to share their stories and photos on Best Friends’ Strut Your Mutt Facebook page. Some of the best will be spotlighted on the Best Friends website and in the Best Friends magazine.

The Virtual Strut and Struts in L.A. and New York

One of the biggest draws of the Strut Across America is that it is open to everybody, no matter where they live.

However, if you live in the Los Angeles or New York areas, Greta comments, "We would love for you to register for our anchor events in those cities." Best Friends’ supporters can join the Best Friends L.A. programs or the Best Friends New York programs dog packs, which will be led by Francis Battista in Los Angeles and Gregory Castle in New York. "People can participate as a walker and attend the events, or join as a virtual participant and fundraise for those teams," says Greta.

Strut Your Mutt "is a chance for everyone to join forces in the same mission and help to recruit other animal lovers around the country," comments Greta. "We want everyone in America to be strutting in September!"

When you Strut Across America you can raise money for Best Friends Animal Society or your favorite No More Homeless Pets Network partner. Get all the information you'll need to get started!

Strut Your Mutt