Dogs of all types and sizes came to take part in the ninth annual Pat McGee Memorial Dog Walk Sunday at Point Gratiot in Dunkirk.
Owners walked their beloved pets around the park to support the Lakeshore Humane Society. Dogs interacted with each other while others tried marking territories.
“It’s taken several forms because eight years we used to do it at Russell Joy Park in Fredonia,” said Rock Vallone, vice president of the shelter and dog owner. “And then we started raising money to build the building (animal shelter). We wanted to make it a bigger event and have it down here at the Point. Then we decided that we wanted to honor Pat McGee for the work that she has done with animals. So it was good timing.”
The event was named in honor of the late New York Senator McGee for her efforts to end animal cruelty. In her fight against animal cruelty, McGee supported the Felony Animal Cruelty Law.
For Vallone and many, the walk was a hot one. Starting out from the pavilion, the group walked along the walkway by the lake down past the lighthouse.
The group then made a turn on Oak Street where they made their way back to the pavilion. Some dogs walked with their tails wagging and tongues sticking out. Others found areas of shade and plopped on the ground to stay away from the beating sun. A few small dogs decided to jump into the arms of their owners, for they knew how to stay away from the heat and exhaustion.
Along the path were several watering stations where owners and their pets could take some time to cool off and get a drink of water.
Once the dogs and their owners finished the walk, they were met with pools to hop in or lie down in and water to cool off. Others went to the shade and found a comfortable spot on the ground. A dog grooming station was also present to clip nails and brush hair.
Volunteer of the humane society Nancy Letersky said that 40 people registered for this year’s walk.
Between 50 and 60 dogs were geared for the walk. People from the first walk-a-thon were in attendance along with first timers. People as far as Warren, Pa., came to support the cause.
“People love their pets,” Letersky said. “These people are our followers.”
Letersky thanked everyone for attending the event. She mentioned to the participants how happy she was for no rain as well as everyone’s patience.
After the walk, contests were held to show off dog characteristics and talents. The categories included most patriotic, fastest tailwagger, most beautiful eyes, best smile and tallest dog winner being a black Great Dane. Winners received play toys and treats.
The money made from the event goes to support the humane shelter and the animals. Some of the money goes to pay for medication and vet visits that animals need, according to Letersky. She mentioned how vital it is for the animals to have medical treatment in order to keep them healthy. The money that is donated is put to the best use to keep the animals healthy until they are adopted. She acknowledged Purina and the community for their support.
In support of the humane society, raffle tickets were available for purchase. The winner of the Tuscany Meat and Deli prize was Elizabeth Arcorace.
Sponsors of the ninth walk-a-thon were thanked, including Agency LLC, Fredonia Beaver Club, McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home, Dunkirk Animal Clin-ic, and several others.
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