Dress yourself and your dog in your best green outfits and start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, or St. Paw-trick’s Day, early on Saturday, March 17, by joining hundreds of humans, dogs, and other critters for the 20th Annual Walk With The Animals presented by Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center (MSRPAC). This year’s event features Bob Harper of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and Irish Wolfhounds from Wolfhoundrescue as Grand Marshals of the pledge walk around beautiful Lake Evans in Fairmount Park, Riverside.
Pledge walk registration and a hearty pancake breakfast ($5 per person) begin at 8:00 am. (band shell area) with the event’s various family-friendly activities going on from 8:00 until noon. Walk With The Animals is free, open to the public, and held rain or shine.
A bagpiper kicks off the 1.3-mile pledge walk at 9:00 am. The St. Paw-trick’s Day event also features a performance by children from Butler Fearon O'Connor School of Irish Dance, a Kiss The Blarney Dog booth, pet costume contest, Muttley Crew K-9 Entertainment, Urban Search and Rescue demonstration, bake sale for people and pets, exhibitors, breed rescue groups, low-cost vaccinations and microchips, and fabulous raffle prizes. Free water and first aid is available for pets and people.
Walk participants are encouraged to collect pledges to sponsor their effort. There are categories for individuals and groups of three or more adults and youth (16 and under). Participation in the pledge walk is not required to attend the event.
The person collecting the most pledge money will enjoy a Saturday night stay for two in a suite at the Historic Mission Inn with Sunday brunch. Second place pledge collector receives Sunday brunch for two at the Historic Mission Inn. The top two youths collecting the most pledge money receive an MSRPAC engraved medal and Walk t-shirt.
The top team, adult and youth categories, collecting the most pledge money will be recognized with a commemorative brick in MSRPAC’s Celebration Walkway.
All dogs must be on a six-foot or shorter leash, under control of a handler, friendly to animals and people, and healthy, have a current license and ID tag, and be more than four-months old. Cats and other pets must be on leashes, in carriers, or otherwise contained and controlled.
Harper, a fitness expert and personal trainer to the stars, has been a trainer on “The Biggest Loser” reality television show since 2004. He has been featured on television and in magazines and workout videos and is a writer and motivational speaker. As an advocate for animals, he adopted a Havanese mix rescue, has spoken out against puppy mills and is a past national spokesperson for Farm Sanctuary.
The Irish Wolfhounds are rescues from Wolfhoundrescue.org of Sherman Oaks, CA, a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organization dedicated to the rescue, care, rehabilitation and placement of Irish Wolfhound companions everywhere, and in Southern California in particular.
Exhibit space is free for nonprofit animal-welfare organizations and $50 for all other businesses and organizations. Booth space comprises one eight-foot table and two chairs. Exhibitors are welcome to bring booth graphics and displays. Canopies are advised for weather protection. No electricity is available. Deadline for exhibitor applications is March 9.
Gold Paw Sponsors to date are City of Riverside Park, Recreation & Community Services Dept., Frontline Plus/Heartguard Plus, Inland Lighting Supplies, Inc., Jan Peterson Child Development Center, Law Office of Ellen Weinfurtner, Lexus of Riverside, Mary S. Roberts Foundation, McDonalds on University Avenue, Perricone Farms, Raincross Veterinary Services, Riverwalk Pet Resort, and Starbucks.
Silver Paw Sponsors are Arlington Animal Hospital, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc., Donna Knox, Ed Adkison, Intervet, Lamb Energy, Inc., and Security Bank of California.
For information on registering as a pledge walker, exhibiting or sponsoring, call Michele Mills at MSRPAC, 951-688-4340, ext. 307.
The Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center is a non-profit, public benefit charitable organization serving communities in Riverside County and beyond. As the largest no-kill pet adoption organization in Riverside County, the Center accepts owner turn-ins of cats and dogs and transfers from local animal-control agencies. Prior to adoption, each animal is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, evaluated for behavior issues, and microchipped. Each animal also is monitored for physical, emotional and mental health, and receives ongoing socialization.