BY RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
Animal lovers will be showcasing their four-legged friends Saturday at the 10th annual Purina Walk for the Animals to benefit the Humane Society of Greater Miami.
But the pooches will be out for more than a walk as the event helps raise funds for the organization. More than 3,500 people and their furry friends are expected to walk at downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park, 301 N. Biscayne Blvd. The event starts at 8:30 a.m., with the actual one-mile stroll around the park, with or without a dog, beginning at 10 a.m.
Humane Society spokeswoman Laurie Hoffman said the only walk-a-thon for dogs and pet owners is significant.
“It is a fundraising tool for the organization,” Hoffman wrote in an e-mail.
With a full $50 registration fee, dog lovers will get an official event T-shirt, a doggie bandanna and a goodie bag with fun items for both the owner and the pet.
“If anyone cannot pay the full $50, we absolutely encourage them to participate but donate something — anything they can — every dollar helps,” Hoffman wrote.
Last year’s walk raised $170,000. The organization hopes to raise $175,000 this time.
Hoffman added that the walk and other Humane Society events help “support the program and services for more than 250 animals on a daily basis.”
At the event, pet lovers will enjoy Purina’s Incredible Dog Team, bounce houses, an inflatable basketball court and games for both humans and animals. Music will be provided by 101.5 FM, while breakfast food and a bakery tent filled with homemade treats will help give dog owners energy for the walk.
At least four dogs will be available for adoption. There is a fee for adoption based on size and age.
This year, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss will be the Grand Marshall, and University of Miami President Donna Shalala will be the Leader of the Pack.
The Humane Society of Greater Miami promotes responsible pet ownership and spay/neuter programs.
Hoffman said the donations are helpful.
“We do not receive any money from the government nor any other animal welfare organization, and we depend on events,” she said.
For more information, visit humanesocietymiami.org.