The scent of the Torres family’s bacon-wrapped hot dogs filled the air at Hinson Lake on Sunday, tempting the crowd of pets and people there to enjoy Richmond County Animal Advocate’s inaugural pet walk “Mutt Strutt.”
“We raised approximately $3,000,” said RCAA Director Allison Sweatt. “I’m very pleased with how the event turned out, and we couldn’t have done this without our sponsors and community supporters.”
Animal lovers took to the trail, taking advantage of the sunny afternoon to let their dogs “strutt” for a cause. Big and small, some in fancy outfits and others splashing in the lake, the dogs seemed to enjoy the outing as much as the people.
“This is something different and fun for us to get out and enjoy with other people and their dogs,” said Jeremy Scott of Ellerbe, who was at the event with his wife Ashley and their dogs Gunner and Gunney.
The event was also host to vendors and other volunteers.
Creative Eye Photography volunteered to set up a photo booth to take free photos of walkers.
“I recently fostered a dog through RCAA, and it was such a positive experience I thought this would be a good way to help the organization,” said Creative Eye partner Tammy Bundy.
“We are looking for ways to get our business involved with the community, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity,” said Sarah Ferguson, Creative Eye partner.
Walkers who posed for photos at the booth can find a link to download their pictures on the website ourcreativeeye.com or on the Richmond County Animal Advocates Facebook page. All photos from the walk should be available by June 15, organizers said.
Oak & Hounds, an up-and-coming pet boutique, set up shop at the event and offered specialty items for pet lovers.
“I sell pet items, jewelry, crafts — anything I would love to have for myself or my pets,” said owner Theresa Rodgers, who recently created an Oak & Hounds page on Facebook to expand her business.
“I am an animal rescuer myself, and I love being a vendor at events like this,” she said. “Right now I mainly offer my inventory at events, but I’m looking to expand and look forward to meeting more animal lovers through the new Facebook page.”
Aunt Tessie’s Pet Boutique was on site, clipping pet nails to raise additional money for another local pet rescue fund, Miles of Pennies for a Second Chance.
“I was so happy to have Aunt Tessie’s Pet Boutique join us,” said Sweatt. “Tessie Caulder Baldwin does a lot for animals in need, and the only way to make a real difference in the community is to work together.”
Baldwin was there with one of her rescue dogs, Buckshot, who recently had a leg amputated due to gunshot injuries.
AKC CAR micro-chipped more than 10 pets at the event.
“We recommend that all pets be micro-chipped,” said Dr. Hilarie Jerauld, All Paws Animal Hospital veterinarian from Apex. “This is the only form of ID that can’t be lost. Natural disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes can separate pets and owners quickly. This is a way to increase the chances that you can be reunited with pets.”
AKC CAR is a non-profit service that allows participants to update contact information on their pets for a lifetime, with no annual fee. Interested pet owners can contact 1-800-252-7894 to find the next microchip clinic closest to them.
Alison Donnelly and her 7-year-old daughter Mia took a break in the shade with their rescue dogs, Nina and Leo.
“Nina is our newest dog,” said Alison. “We were volunteering at the shelter, and when we were passing out treats she sat right down. Mia took her out for a walk on the leash, and she behaved really well for her.”
The family knew this was a special dog, and decided to adopt her.
“She’s really pretty because she looks like a coyote,” said Mia. “She’s my dog, and I take care of her.”
The event turned out to be a day of fun and sun for the whole family, but Sweatt said she isn’t ready to take a break from helping animals.
“We’ll use the money we raised to pay off vet bills and help get some of the dogs we have into rescue,” she said. “Our next project will be to create a monthly sponsorship fund to do spay/neuter clinics and help families in need purchase pet food.”
Sweatt said anyone interested in fostering or adopting through RCAA should visit the Richmond County Animal Advocates Facebook page to view photos of available animals or contact her at 910-331-6275 or email to email@example.com.
The event was sponsored by Dieffenbach GM Superstore in Rockingham, Academy Animal Hospital of Laurinburg, Griggin Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Swink Quality Oil and Gas, White Star Pharmacy, Cascades Tissue Group, Dance Sensations and Gymnastics, Seaboard Station Restaurant, Bryant’s Turf and Landscaping, Convenience Corner, Aunt Tessie’s Pet Boutique, Don’s Locksmith, Maness Tire, Dorsett Printing Company, La Cabana, Gifts Four All Seasons, Coldwell Banker, Debra Parsons, Vanity Salon, Billy’s Pawn Shop, Torres Family Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Stand, Triple Scoop Concessions, Oak & Hounds, Creative Eye Photography, Junebugs Bags and Boutique, Rick and Al’s Car Wash, Uneeda Pet Groomer, Hardwick Vision Center, Rockingham Fitness, Jill Parks, Covington Investment Properties, Sandy Crest Kennels.
Donations were also made in memory of Allison Butler and Taylor Stewart.