Virtual Strut Your Mutt

Strut Across America is the virtual version of Strut Your Mutt, a fundraising dog walk for shelters and rescues.
By Denise LeBeau

Strut Your Mutt, Best Friends premier annual fundraiser, is held in cities around the country, but did you know there's also a virtual Strut Across America? For those who are not in one of the 11 Strut Your Mutt cities, Strut Across America allows animal lovers to get in on the action by participating online. Best Friends' No More Homeless Pets Network partners have made the most of this opportunity.

Reasons to participate in Strut Your Mutt

Puppies from Castaway Critters in Blairsville, GeorgiaCastaway Critters of Blairsville, Georgia, is an all-volunteer, foster-based rescue who participated in the Strut Across America for the first time last year. They signed up on a lark, as they had never been involved in this type of online fundraiser before. Nancy Ede, secretary of the board, shares, "Most of our volunteers didn't think their friends would contribute, so we started with a five-member team. We were astounded by the response from our friends and family. We raised almost $5,000." They used the funds to provide essential spay and neuter surgeries for their charges and to offset the medical bills incurred for the animals who need it.

"The funding allows us to help out when we are presented with an emergency. We received word that a local rescue had seven puppies found in a barrel left next to a river, and it was filling up with water. The puppies almost drowned. Their foster mainstay already had 37 puppies in her house, so having extra money in our coffers allows us to say 'yes' to urgent situations because we have the resources," says Nancy. Extra funding allows groups to pay for the essentials they need to keep their charges healthy, like pet food and veterinary care.

Fewer litters, fewer homeless pets

Oregon Outback Humane Society (OOHS) is the only animal welfare organization in an 8,000-square-mile area where there is no municipal shelter. In addition to overseeing rescue work, OOHS also provides low-cost spay and neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR) services for community cats. Operations director Martina Keil says, "[There] are people in our community who were just waiting for a low-cost spay/neuter program. It's like saving five lives by fixing one animal."

The Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) of Houston, Texas, used the funds they raised to provide free spay/neuter surgeries for dogs and cats living in low-income households. "The Strut Across America was a fun, unique way to get our volunteers more involved," shares director of development Laura E. Welch. "The website that Best Friends has set up for the event makes it so easy for everyone to participate. Being associated with Best Friends helps bring more publicity to the event as well as new donors. SNAP is really looking forward to this year's event since we will have an actual walk in Houston."

Kennedy the pit bull terrier from Palm Springs Animal Shelter in FloridaMedical emergencies

The Palm Springs Animal Shelter is an open-admission shelter serving the city of Palm Springs and operated by Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. Many animals come into the shelter with serious health issues, including dogs like Kennedy, who suffered from a ruptured ligament and required extensive expensive treatment and therapy. The fundraising event helped their organization do more, according to Tamara Hedges, executive board member of Friends of Palm Springs Animal Shelter. "Participating in Strut Across America helped us educate not only our own residents, but many outside of our community about the important work we are doing at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter."

Support homeless animals by joining Strut Your Mutt. Please note we are holding Strut Your Mutt events in 11 cities this year: Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kanab, Salt Lake City, Austin, Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Baltimore/D.C. area and New York City.

Photos courtesy of Castaway Critters, Oregon Outback Humane Society, and Palm Springs Animal Shelter