On the Record

Strutting their stuff

On the Record with Heather Short

Heather Short
Heather Short

DeKALB – Pamplona, Spain, is famous for the running of the bulls during the nine-day festival of San Fermín. On Saturday, Sept. 16, DeKalb will have a running of the dogs – with their owners.

Tails Humane Society’s Mutt Strut 5K Run/Walk will be held Saturday at Hopkins Park. Day-of registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., or attendees can register online. The race and walk will begin at 10 a.m.

Mutt Strut 5K is a dog-friendly 5K run/walk-a-thon benefiting the more than 2,400 animals cared for each year at Tails Humane Society. Cost of the race is $15 for those younger than 18 and $30 in advance or $35 day-of-race for adults.

Heather Short, Tails Humane Society’s manager of development and marketing, is helping lead this year’s Mutt Strut. Short also is in charge of planning and executing all of Tails’ major events.

Short spoke to MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton about Mutt Strut and how it benefits Tails.

Milton: What is Mutt Strut?

Short: It is a dog-friendly 5K run or walk. There are usually 300 people that attend, and about half of them bring dogs. It’s an opportunity to walk or run through Hopkins Park, meet others and enjoy the day with pets while raising money for animals in need.

Milton: How does Mutt Strut help Tails?

Short: One hundred percent of the proceeds helps Tails, a nonprofit organization, with the day-to-day running of the shelter. We have an average of 150 animals in the shelter on any given day, and about the same number of animals in foster homes. Our expenses are about $10,000 a month, and that includes everything from spay and neutering to litter and food.

Milton: What is the event’s history?

Short: Mutt Strut has been an outing with and for dogs for 12 years. It has only been in the last five years that it has morphed into the 5K it is today. Once, it helped kick off the Cortland parade as a dog walk. It has gotten bigger and bigger over the years, and now it is both a walk and a race. It’s a great way to connect with your dog and other dogs and be outside.

Milton: Are there awards for race winners?

Short: Top overall males and top overall females with and without dogs will each receive a prize basket and medal. First place in each age group will win a medal: ages 12 and younger, 13 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69 and 70 and older. … People that register in advance online are guaranteed T-shirts and a dog bandana. There will be some available for people that register the day of the event on a first-come, first-served basis.

Milton: Are there any rules for dogs and their owners?

Short: Dog handlers must be older than 18. All dogs are leashed, most are either walking or running. Some are pushed in dog strollers or carried. Due to safety reasons, choke and prong collars and retractable leashes are not allowed.

Milton: Will there be water available during the walk/run?

Short: There will be water bowls for the dogs halfway through and at the finish line. People can bring portable bowls and bottled water. There will also be refreshments for people and guests.

Milton: What do you think is the best part of the event?

Short: One of the great things about having a dog is spending time together. Dogs need exercise, and we do, too. Including dogs in the event makes it more enjoyable for everyone. Foster parents that helped raise some of the dogs will be there, and they can reconnect with the dogs and see them thriving in their new home. It has the feel of a family reunion. Dogs can also meet their litter mates. It’s a great way for pet owners to connect and bond over animals and celebrate all the good that Tails does in the community.

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