Walk the dog for a cause

by Shannon Rae Gentry
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Supplied photo courtesy of Mike Spencer Photography 

Canines for Service will hold the Walk for Those Who Can’t on Saturday, March 23, in Hugh MacRae Park. 

While dogs can have their mystery breed guessed, their sit and shake skills put to the test, owners may also find out if they are in fact smarter than their K-9 companion. All of these games are featured at this year’s Canines for Service annual Walk for Those Who Can’t at Hugh MacRae Park this Saturday, March 23 at 8:30 a.m.

Program manager Pat Hairston said the Walk For Those Who Can’t event raises money and awareness for the Canines for Service’s multimillion dollar programs, such as its Canines for Veterans, Canines for Therapy and Canines for Literacy and service dog programs. 

Hairston said this year’s event will feature a few new additions, including a separate Dog Dash, which is an untimed 2-mile fun run or walk around the park for people and their canines that will be entered to win a special prize. 

While there are multiple ways to enter the raffles, tickets will also be available for purchase. Other activities include a special treat bar for dogs, photos in costumes and a vendor scavenger hunt to visit the 20 or so businesses that will be there, including Unleashed, Dog Club of Wilmington, Nature’s Select of Coastal Carolinas and more.

“We’re going to have questions about the [Canines for Service] and go around to the vendors to get the answers, and then if participants submit their completed question sheet they’ll be entered for a prize drawing,” Hairston said. “We try to make the event really interesting for people.”

Though this is a family and dog-friendly event, Hairston said it is important to know if it is an appropriate place for a dog when considering its age, disposition in crowds and other important event guidelines.

“In the past we’ve had anywhere from 200 to 500 people with their dogs. It’s really a lot of fun,” Hairston said. “But it’s probably best not to bring [dogs] that are too old or too young … we do ask attendees to bring no more than two dogs with them, with no retractable leashes — only a flat 6-foot lead — and just be aware of what your dog is doing.”

This weekend’s Walk For Those Who Can’t will be held rain or shine. Teams and -individuals can register online with a donation of $35 and a separate $35 fee for the Dog Dash. Children 12 and under are free. For more information, call 910-362-8181 or visit www.caninesforservice.org

email shannon@luminanews.com

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