Walk Your Paws fundraiser benefits Humane Society of Parkersburg

PARKERSBURG – Paws filled the park Saturday morning for the annual Elinor K. Ross Walk Your Paws fundraiser for the Humane Society of Parkersburg.

Approximately 200 dogs of all types – and their people – gathered at City Park for the 20th annual fundraiser, which helps support the shelter and the animals it cares for, said Maryann Hollis, the society’s executive director.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Hollis said of the sunny Saturday morning in City Park.

Money raised during and for Saturday’s event will be used by the humane society to assist with spay and neuter programs, food for the dogs and cats and for vaccinations.

Vienna resident Judy Whited brought her dog, Taylor, to Saturday’s event after finding a flyer for Walk Your Paws at her vet’s office.

“We thought it was a good cause because Taylor’s a retired service dog,” Whited said, adding it was her first time at Walk Your Paws.

“I think it’s great and I like that they have a variety of vendors here. There are free samples so that we can try different things for our dogs that might be better for them,” Whited said.

“It’s a good event,” said Veto resident Gary H. Bradley, a volunteer at the shelter in Parkersburg who brought his wife and their three dogs to Saturday’s event.

Hollis said the theme for Saturday’s Walk was “Cops and Slobbers,” which celebrated the area’s first responders who help the humane society and the community’s animals. Representatives from several local police and fire departments walked at the head of the parade around the center of City Park which is the showcase of each year’s Walk Your Paws.

“We’re recognizing our local law enforcement and fire departments for the help they give us,” Hollis said. “I don’t think a lot of people realize what they do for us, but they do a lot.”

In addition to the one-lap Walk, Saturday’s program included vendors and exhibitors displaying a variety of pet-related services and programs. There were also some vendors with people-related products, Hollis said.

The humane society had a number of dogs present who are available for adoption from the shelter. The Walk also included some games and contests, including “pet lookalike,” “best trick” and “best costume.”

Dave and Phyllis Blavos, of Parkersburg, brought their two Shih Tzus, Cammy and Gizmo, to Saturday’s event dressed in orange prison uniforms and trailing lengths of plastic orange chain to fit with the day’s theme.

“We’ve entered them ever since we’ve had the dogs,” Phyllis Blavos said. “It’s fun for them and it’s a great fundraiser for the humane society.”

The goal for this year’s walk was $35,000 and approximately $33,000 was raised Saturday, Hollis said. All of the money raised through corporate sponsors, groups and individuals who donate and participate in the Walk goes to support the shelter operations and its discount spay and neuter programs.