A sprinkling of rain did nothing to weather the efforts of a few hundred people who came out in support of Paws For A Cause, the annual 2 kilometre fundraiser walk benefiting the BC SPCA.
At the Dallas Road dog park Sunday afternoon, dogs of all shapes and sizes – some in rain coats just like their humans – gathered to walk, run and play to raise much needed funds for the Victoria branch of the SPCA.
“We are walking to fight animal cruelty,” says Annie Prittie-Bell, branch manager of the Victoria BC SPCA.
The annual fundraiser, this year hoping to raise $50,000 to support the Victoria branch and Wild ARC, is vital, Prittie-Bell says, because the Victoria shelter is completely donor-funded.
“We really rely on having people involved,” she explains, “recognizing us as where they want to come and adopt from in Victoria.”
Between 75 and 125 animals are in care at any given time in the Victoria shelter, where more than 1,300 animals are adopted each year. Those animals come from across the province with close to 500 transfers into the branch.
This year, staff and volunteers from Victoria went to Prince George to lend a hand at the dog evacuation centre during the wildfires bringing 17 animals back to the Island to make room for others who were evacuated.
“It’s critical to be able to transfer, to be able to have the support that we need locally in order to have those foster homes and adopters here so that we can keep moving animals around the province,” Prittie-Bell says
Led by the Navarrete family, who in honour of their son Carter, a Sooke teen who passed away two years ago in a car crash, return each year to his favourite event, the walk took a scenic route along Dallas Road.
Participants returned to the dog park for games, a kids zone, info booths, food trucks, a beer garden and even a dry spot to snuggle some furry friends in the official “cuddle lounge.”
“It’s both a public event, but also a very important message,” Prittie-Bell says.