About 800 dogs brought their owners to Brookside on Sunday for the annual Wayside Waifs Strutt With Your Mutt fundraiser.
Approximately 1,300 dog-lovers hoped to generate revenue for the south Kansas City animal shelter, whose officials have been organizing the event for 24 years.
“There’s just a lot of positive energy today about the animals that bring so much joy into our lives,” said Geoff Hall, Wayside Waifs president.
The event included a 5K run, a 5K run with dogs, and a 3K walk with dogs.
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Dogs and their owners also strolled though a product and services midway, or “flea-less market,” that included vendors of carpet cleaning supplies, pet apparel and poop-scooping services.
At the booth occupied by representatives of BluePearl Veterinary Partners animal hospitals was Axel, a 11-pound Yorkshire/shih tzu mix harnessed into a modified wheelchair.
More than a year ago the dog had been brought to BluePearl’s Overland Park location by a Nebraska rescue group. The dog had suffered a back injury at an early age, but Jessica Schulz, a BluePearl vet tech who adopted Axel, found a wheelchair that fit him.
One Sunday morning Axel sported a blue onesie with the name “Speed Demon” printed on it.
“I coudn’t find a shirt that said ‘Holy Terror,’’’ Schulz said.
Leading the 3K walk with dogs was Harley, a basset hound/rottweiler mix riding shotgun in the Ford Mustang driven by Bobby Sight of the Rob Sight Ford dealership, an event sponsor.
Susan Sight, a longtime supporter, helped establish Purr Gamma Bark, a service sorority that supports the shelter. This year and last group members have raised funds for a program that allows veterinary students from across the region to live on the Wayside Waifs campus and shadow the vets who care for the shelter’s animals.
“It’s a great cause for a great organization,” said Sight.
While there were plenty of yips, yelps and barks heard Sunday morning, there was only the occasional growl.
Among those noticing the lack of dog disagreements were Tim and Annelise London, who walked Sunday morning with two dogs they had adopted from Wayside Waifs: Enzo, a Great Dane/Labrador mix, and Cosworth, a dog whose breed they are not sure of.
“Enzo is the kind of dog who often greets other dogs in an sometimes excitable manner,” Tim London said.
But Enzo wasn’t that way Sunday morning.
“Today there is so much stimulus that it might be hard for him to concentrate on one dog,” London said.
Participants ended their walks or runs on the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail at West 62nd Terrace and Brookside Plaza.
Bringing up the rear on the 3k dog walk was RoboDog 2560, assembled by the Grandview High School Robotics Club. The canine-shaped machine was doing well at first, but ultimately had to be pushed across the finish line by club members. As part of their community service initiative, club members support Wayside Waifs by participating in the annual Strutt With Your Mutt while also collecting supplies throughout the year.
RoboDog’s raceday competitors who approached him Sunday were underwhelmed, said Robin Reich, Grandview High librarian and the club’s assistant coach.
“He doesn’t have a scent, so they just moved along,” she said.
To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Wayside Waifs, go to waysidewaifs.org.