This Saturday, the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County will host their largest fundraising event of the year. Paws in the Park, featuring the Dog-A-Thon, is a family-friendly pet-friendly event full of vendors and volunteers committed to improving the welfare of animals across Pierce County.
The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County was one of our first shelter partners at Mud Bay, and we’ve consistently admired the work they do. Not only do they endeavor to find pets the right homes, but they also work to help the welfare of all animals throughout the community. For example, their pet food pantry allows people to get the food they need to feed their existing pets. As the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County puts it: “We believe that pets should stay with their families. We’re happy to offer what help we can to make that happen.”
To find out more about Paws in the Park and the beloved Dog-A-Thon, we talked to Shelby Taylor, Marketing and PR Manager at the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County. Although everyone at the Humane Society is busy preparing for the event, Shelby took a few minutes to talk about Paws in the Park and the important work that the event helps fund throughout the year.
MB: For people unfamiliar with the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County, could you tell us a little bit about what you do?
ST: Like most humane societies, we’re always working to make happy happen by matching families with adoptable animals. At the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County, we have dogs, cats and rabbits, as well as the occasional bird, turtle, snake, chinchilla and other animals.
Placing homeless animals may be our primary work, but we also work to be an active community resource. We collect community donations for our pet food pantry to help families feed their animals. We want people who need a little help feeding their pets to come to us because we want to keep pets with their families.
We also have a Pets for Life program that works to build community relationships in specific areas. We talk about the importance of spay and neuter, as well as vaccinations and other cornerstones of animal health. We also try to provide flea treatment medication when necessary. Many of programs are really about our being heavily involved in the community.
MB: So, a lot of people know Paws in the Park as the Dog-A-Thon. Why the name change? And what can people expect this year if they attend?
ST: This is the 28th year for this event, and a lot of people know and love this event as the Dog-A-Thon. But we wanted to broaden the event a little bit. There are a lot of animal lovers in the community who love dogs, but also love cats or rabbits or another animal as well. We also wanted to expand the types of activities and vendors that it made sense to invite.
We’re still collecting pledges for the Dog-A-Thon, and it’s an essential part of the event. There’s still time if people want to collect pledges. People can print out pledge forms on our website and raise pledges until the day of the event. Then, when they get here, they can hand in their pledges and get their thank-you gifts at registration.
We try to make it really easy for people who want to participate in the Dog-A-Thon. Also, if you didn’t have time for the event this year, please come and enjoy Paws in the Park with us.
MB: When is Paws in the Park this year?
ST: This year, Paws in the Park is on Saturday, July 28th at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. Even though the event starts at 9:00 a.m., we still expect it’s going to be hot. We’ll have plenty of cooling stations, and the event ends at 2:00 p.m. We’re also excited to be partnering this year with a group called ForeverGreen Trails, which is also holding their national trail day promotion on Saturday. There’s the option of raising pledges and walking around the lake the day of the event for the Dog-A-Thon. ForeverGreen Trails will have a booth at Fort Steilacoom, and we’re just really excited to share the day with them.
People who haven’t attended this event before might be surprised by how big Paws in the Park is. We’ll have over 30 different activities, including different pet contests, dog yoga and training sessions. There’s also a photo booth (which Mud Bay is sponsoring) if people want to take pictures with their pets.
For the first time, we’ll also be having live musical performances by singer and songwriter Kristen Marlo and local sensation Pig Snout. We look forward to this event every year. Lots of people bring the whole family for a fun day at the park. We’ll have kiddie crafts, face painting, and other events to delight the little ones. And of course, we’d love to see your leashed animals on Saturday. ***
Paws in the Park may only be one day a year, but there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for people interested in helping the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County. In particular, the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County appreciates foster families who are willing to bottle-feed baby kittens or work with dogs who need a break from the kennel environment. Prospective volunteers should check the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County website for something that might interest them.