This Tuesday, July 28, Fargo’s Homeward Animal Shelter will hold its 25th Annual Paws Walk at Lindenwood Park’s Main Shelter, with registration starting at 6 p.m. and the dog walk beginning at 7 p.m.
This family-friendly event will have free food provided by MSUM Catering, a photo booth and music by RetroDisc. For the kids, there’s face-painting and games, including ring-tossing, Giant Jenga and an inflatable bouncy-house courtesy of Games to Go. For the dogs, veterinary students from Globe University will be available to give free nail trimmings.
A minimum $25 donation is required to participate. As a nonprofit establishment, the shelter relies on donations to provide food, veterinary care and other necessities for their animals.
“This is one of our largest fundraisers,” says Heather Klefstad, special events/PR coordinator with Homeward Animal Shelter. “We raised over $42,000 last year, so our goal this year is to raise $45,000. We have plenty of sponsors that are helping out with the event, so if anybody donates $75 or more, our sponsors will be matching those donations, up to $20,000.”
This year, the Event Grand Marshal — that is, the dog that leads the walk — will be a German shepherd named Windsor, chosen by popular vote in an online alumni photo contest. Windsor was adopted from the shelter in July of last year, having been rescued from a neglectful situation. He now lives happily in West Fargo with Jim and Brenda Hagel and three cats.
Despite the fact that it’s primarily an event for dogs, participants do bring other animals to the Paws Walk, and the Grand Marshal could easily have been a cat.
“We’ve had people bring their cats on leashes and in pet strollers, so people are welcome to bring other animals, as long as they know they’re going to be fine around dogs,” Klefstad says. “The runner-up for the Event Grand Marshal was Cecil the cat, so he’ll be second in line at the walk.”
As for Fargo’s unpredictable weather, Klefstad insists the show will go on.
“It’s a rain-or-shine event,” she declares. “So we’ll congregate together in the shelter, and if people are still willing to do the walk in the rain, that’s great. Otherwise we’ll just have some activities going on in the shelter, whatever we can move in there, so we’ll make the best of it if we have to.”
For more information, head to Homeward Animal Shelter’s website.
This article previously appeared in the High Plains Reader.
– Särah Nour