By Lindsey Nolen
Love dogs, exercise and fall weather? If so, the 11th Annual Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society Mutt Strut at the Navy Yard, 4747 S. Broad St., is the perfect way to kick off Saturday morning (Oct. 14).
According to Melissa Levy, the executive director of PAWS, the Mutt Strut is the organization’s biggest event of the year, with all proceeds going toward its life-saving efforts. In addition, PAWS is the city’s largest rescue and it is working to make Philadelphia a no-kill city, with every pet it saves depending on the generosity of its supporters.
“The Mutt Strut brings so many caring people together for a cause that is near and dear to their hearts,” Levy, whose involvement with the organization began 11 years ago as a volunteer, said. “It’s hard to believe this will be our 11th Mutt Strut. Our team of staff and volunteers is incredibly proud of how [the event] has grown into the must-attend fall festival for dogs and the people who love them.”
Adding that the day of the event is the organization’s favorite day of the year, Levy noted that with each year the Mutt Strut has gotten bigger and better. With activities for dogs, food trucks, a pet costume contest, talent contest, “Ask the Vet” and “Ask the Trainer” booths, agility course, paw print/paw painting station, pet photo booth, adoptable dogs and more, there will be something available for all guests to enjoy. Live music and emcees, Steve Morrison from WMMR’s Preston and Steve Show, Matt Cord and Kristen Hermann from 95.7 Ben FM and Sue Serio from Fox29’s Good Day Philadelphia will also be present at the event.
“We expect about 2,000 people to join us on Oct. 14,” Levy said. “We’ve found that October is a great month for a fall festival like this. Plus, being close to Halloween, one of the highlights is all of the dogs who arrive in costume.”
With registration opening at 9 a.m. and the walk kicking off at 11 a.m., PAWS encourages both those with dogs and those looking to adopt to head out to walk the 1.5-mile scenic route at the Navy Yard to help raise these funds and awareness for PAWS’ efforts to save Philadelphia’s homeless pets. Dozens of PAWS dogs who will be awaiting loving homes will be on hand.
Typically, the event brings out 20 to 24 adoptable dogs, most, if not all, who are adopted that day.
“It’s a fun day in a beautiful setting for a great cause,” Levy, who has a dog named Rosie found as a stray in North Philadelphia, said. “Bring your pup or just come to take it all in, meet new friends, listen to good music and eat delicious food, knowing that you’re helping to save homeless pets who need you.”
At a cost of $25 per adult to register, with children 12 and under free, all participants will receive a PAWS eco-bag and dog bandana. The organization hopes to raise $125,000, which would be a new record.
“PAWS is 100 percent donor-funded, so all of the proceeds from the Mutt Strut enable us to rescue and care for homeless pets in Philadelphia,” Levy said. “We house them in our no-kill shelters, provide medical care, spay/neuter, socialization and TLC, and then find them great families through our adoption centers or foster care network. Then, we go right back to the city shelter to fill their cages with more animals waiting for the same chance.”
A rain date for the 11th Annual Mutt Strut is scheduled for Sunday (Oct. 15). To register and for more info, visit: pawsmuttstrut.org. Registration can also be completed in-person at the event.