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Putting paws to pavement

A dachshund and chocolate Labrador meet nose-to-nose at last year's Humane Society of Goodhue County Walk-a-Thon. All pets -- big or small -- are welcome at the event so long as they are well-behaved, vaccinated and kept on a leash. Photo courtesy Humane Society of Goodhue County.1 / 4
A high-flying pooch bounds over a hurdle at the 2012 Humane Society of Goodhue County Walk-a-Thon. This year's event will feature dog training, nail clipping and art programs for children.2 / 4
Dogs take a brief break with their owners at Covill Park. The Walk-a-Thon celebrates the bond between humans and their four-legged friends.3 / 4
A dog and its owner pose for a pet sketch, one of several activities to be found this year in addition to the fundraising walk.4 / 4

The Humane Society of Goodhue County will play host to its annual Walk-a-Thon event Saturday May 11 at Colvill Park to raise money for the local animal shelter.

After a meager start, the Walk-a-Thon, now in its fifth year, has grown increasingly popular, said Anna Ostendorf, executive director of the county's Humane Society.

"It's gotten bigger and better, and we've gotten better putting it on," Ostendorf said.

The goal of the Walk-a-Thon is twofold: raise money for the Humane Society and celebrate the bond that exists between people and their pets.

"It's important to have a bond because it makes humans and pets happier," Ostendorf said. "Human relationships are so important to companion animals -- especially dogs, because they inherently look to humans."

Owners are more willing to deal with pet's behaviorial and health issues if there is an emotional attachment, she added.

The Human Society is asking participants to either collect pledges or give an individual donation to take part in the walk.

All pledges and donations will go directly to support the local animal shelter, Ostendorf said. "Half of the money typically goes to day-to-day operating costs, and the other half goes to fund some kind of project."

This year the Humane Society needs help renovating kennels and replacing the heating and cooling system at the shelter before summer heat arrives.

"It's very important for the health of the animals and the people working there," Ostendorf said.

Along with the annual walk, the day's events also will feature educational presentations by local trainers and veterinarians; a K-9 agility demonstration; and craft and storytelling programs for children and pets, according to an event flyer.

Local artist Janeanna Rivera will be drawing pet portraits as well.

A day for every dog (and cat)

Dogs are a clear majority at the walk each year, but Ostendorf said it's not uncommon to see a few leashed cats too.

"Some cats do really well, and some don't," she said. "Owners just need to be aware of how their pets behave."

The only pet stipulations for the walk are that all animals must be under control, up to date on vaccinations and wearing a collar and leash, according to the event's website.

Donating online

Donations for the walk can be collected in person or online.

Starting last year, HSGC has partnered with community fundraising program GiveMN to collect money through its website,

"GiveMN makes it easy to setup fundraising events, and allows individuals to share their fundraising efforts on social media," Ostendorf said.

To start raising money with GiveMN, users will first have to create an account for the website and then join the 2013 Walk-a-Thon team page.

"The website issues tax donation receipts quickly and really cuts down on paperwork and lag time," Ostendorf said. "It makes it easier for everyone."

The top three donors in the 12-and-under and over-12 age groups will receive prizes.

If you go ...

Who: Humane Society of Goodhue County

What: Fifth-annual Walk-a-Thon

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday May 11

Where: Colvill Park

More info:

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

(651) 301-7875