Each year the Valparaiso community and its four-legged friends look forward to the annual Lakeshore Paws Pup Crawl. The 2017 event was hosted at Central Park Plaza in downtown Valparaiso on Saturday and featured something for everyone. Families with dogs, supporters, and dogs in need of adoption gathered to support Lakeshore Paws and the animals it helps to find homes.
The event featured a “pup crawl” which began at 6 PM where participants walked their dogs around downtown Valparaiso. Proceeds from the event went to Lakeshore Paws to support the daily care and medical expenses of these dogs.
“This event raises much needed funds for Lakeshore Paws. We run on donations and a little bit of adoption money, but basically, since our dogs are all spayed and neutered before they go home there are medical expenses and it helps cover that as well as their daily needs,” said Jeanne Sommer, co-founder of Lakeshore PAWS.
During the walk, the CrawPuppies played onstage to provide entertainment for visitors. Afterward, everyone was invited to enjoy music, vendors, and various activities. The dogs, of course, were not forgotten, there were treats and pools of water spaced throughout the park for them to enjoy.
Natalie Sallee, a first time attendee of the Pup Crawl was excited to be taking part.
“I follow Lakeshore Paws on Facebook and think what they do is great,” Said Sallee. “This is my first year coming, but it’s bigger than I thought.”
Not everyone was able to bring their pet but turned out to support the cause anyway.
“We have two dogs but couldn’t bring them, they don’t do well in the heat, but we’re here to support Lakeshore Paws,” said Wendy Wolfe. “I think this is amazing. I love what they do for the animals and support them”
Dogs of all sizes and breeds could be seen walking around the park, playing in the pools of water, and meeting new people. Adoptable dogs wore red vests to let visitors know they were up for adoption.
There were also activities for the kids, including a photo booth and face painting. Local vendors were stationed near the pavilion for people to enjoy. The vendors sold everything from dog foods and treats to clothing and grooming services. Some vendors were there simply to let you know what services they provided. The event wouldn’t be possible without sponsors and community involvement.
“This year was our biggest year for sponsors and I’m hoping as sponsorship grows, we can grow year to year as well,” said Michael Bottos, a volunteer who helps with marketing and fundraising.
The fundraising is important for Lakeshore Paws, as they could not support their dogs without it.
“The Pup Crawl is our biggest fundraiser. We grow every year and this event gets bigger. The community really supports us,” said Molly Judd, who acts as treasurer for Lakeshore Paws.
The community support and love for dogs was apparent as families and children walked around with their furry friends. There are many others waiting to find the family that will take them home.
For more information on Lakeshore Paws visit: www.lakeshorepaws.org
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