Steps for Pets aims south of the border
By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – Those looking for a fun time with their furry companion have an opportunity Sept. 22 at the fifth annual Steps for Pets hosted by the Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary.
“It’s really an effort to build community, bring together companion-animal-loving people who can talk about their passion for their pets and share some time together on what will hopefully be a gorgeous Saturday afternoon,” said Marcus Reitz, branding and development for HEA.
Registration and check in-starts at 10 a.m. with the walk starting at 11 a.m. For the third year the event will be held at Meadowbrook Park in Howard.
“It’s a pet walk first but we try to make sure there’s fun going on with it as well,” Reitz said.
This year the no-kill companion animal sanctuary has a Mexican fiesta theme that will be evident before, during and after the walk.
There are four different dress-up categories for walkers to participate in: Team Flavor, Best Theme/Dressed Pet, Pet Look Alike, and Best Groomed Pet. Judging will take place prior to the walk, which can be either 1 mile or 5 kilometers.
Winners will be selected at the post-walk celebration that will feature tacos, nachos and more, along with dessert from the Dough Shoppe and Kona Ice.
“We’re going to bring in the flavor of the whole fiesta theme without bringing in alcohol, so it does remain extremely family friendly,” Reitz said.
There will also be a Macho Nacho contest where two people enter as a team, and one person feeds the other behind their back.
In addition, there will be numerous games for dog and cat people, as well as three different types of raffles.
Reitz said the park’s trails also allow people to bring strollers so they can bring their cat or children along for the fun.
The event will also feature music, photo opportunities and more.
Last year 300 people took part and Reitz said the event has grown each of the previous four years.
The cost to participate is $15 for adults, $10 for students (ages 6-14), and free for children under 5.
Walkers are encouraged to pre-register and create a personal fundraising page (with a shareable link) at heanokill.org/steps-for-pets.
The cause behind the paws, however, is the support of HEA, which plans to care for more than 650 animals by the end of 2018.
“Steps for Pets is about creating shared experiences and memories as a pet-loving community,” said Amanda Reitz, the nonprofit organization’s founder. “This event is a pet walk first, but family-friendly fun always follows. Fundraising events like Steps for Pets play a critical role in producing the funding needed to allow us to take steps towards our vision of creating a world where the life of every companion animal matters.”
Major event sponsors include Capital Credit Union, which is returning as this year’s Official Walking Partner.
The Green Bay Packers Give Back are sponsoring the Get Your Game Face On cat vs. dog fundraising challenge.
Festival Foods is sponsoring the signature food pavilion known as The Slobbery Sombrero.
Fox Valley Mini Storage is the Trail Blazer.
Dayton Kane of NASH FM 99.5 will emcee the event.
Through the work of the Sanctuary and its adoption, education, spay/neuter, rehabilitation and sanctuary programs, the mission of Happily Ever After is to provide a loving home to every companion animal that enters its care – lifetime guaranteed. Learn more at www.heanokill.org.