Nationwide Festival Raises Over $2.6 Million for Shelter Pets

Posted by Kirsten Peek
Courtesy of Jennifer Hayes

Best Friends Animal Society's Strut Your Mutt raised over $2.6 million for animal shelters across the nation this year.

There are few moments more memorable than the first Strut Your Mutt event I attended in Austin, Texas. Every local Austin rescue I had ever heard of was in attendance, grouped together with their volunteers, adopters, donors, and fosters at the "Start" line. Seeing the entire local rescue community come together was incredible, and it gets better each year.

2016 was a record year in terms of attendance and money raised through the event, according to Annie Laubernds, Best Friend Animal Society's Senior National Events Specialist.

The annual event, which currently takes place in 14 cities across the country, is a dog walk, festival, and fundraiser. Best Friend Animal Society assembles volunteer planning committees in each city where the event takes place. Network partners, which are local shelters and rescues, are invited to participate in the fundraising efforts.

Strut Your Mutt- bulldog dressed up
Best Friends

The network partners and their community supporters create online profiles, through which they fundraise before, during, and after the event. Following the event, the proceeds from these fundraising profiles are donated to the shelters they were created for.

"[Strut Your Mutt] is impactful to the rescue community--particularly smaller shelters--because they may not have the budget to put on a large fundraiser like this themselves," Laubernds said.

The online fundraising efforts culminate in an event where hundreds--and in some cities, thousands--of animal lovers bring their dogs to walk the course and then enjoy the festival. Each festival is slightly different, and include local celebrity appearances, music, a variety of activities and vegetarian-friendly food. Laubernds said that kid-friendly activities were a focus in the planning this year in Austin.

Shelters that are not located in one of the 14 cities where Strut Your Mutt festivals take place can participate virtually, Laubernds added.

Shelters that would like to become network partners can view the requirements and apply to be able to participate in the 2017 Strut Your Mutt.

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Nationwide Festival Raises Over $2.6 Million for Shelter Pets