Don't miss Humane Society of Huron Valley's 'Walk & Wag and Run' on Saturday

By Matt Giles - Associate Producer

Doggo love at the 2017 "Walk & Wag" (Credit: HSHV)

ANN ARBOR - If you have never attended the Humane Society of Huron Valley's "Walk & Wag and Run" fundraising event, you are seriously missing out. Saturday at 8 a.m. marks the 39th annual "Walk & Wag and Run," which includes a dog walk and a 5k run, and serves as an essential fundraiser for animals in our community. Those who plan to attend have the opportunity to let friends and family sponsor them, but most importantly anyone and everyone is encouraged to bring their dog and have a ball celebrating how you've helped the animals this year.

(Credit: HSHV)

New this year is the "Ultimate Air Dogs" event, which will feature a 40-foot dock linked to a 41-foot pool, and dogs of all shapes and sizes are allowed to join the fun. The idea is simple: toss a toy into the pool, and water-loving dogs will make the leaping jump. Some dogs do it over and over again for fun; others scratch their competitive itch and do it to win prizes. Up for grabs: prizes for “Big Air” (how far they jump), “Extreme Vertical” (how high they jump) and “Speed Retrieve” (how fast). To show people (and shy dogs) how it’s done, professional jumping dogs will be performing shows throughout the morning, too. And it’s not just fun; it’s all for a good cause.

“In addition to the 'Ultimate Air Dogs,' we have a lot of new things planned for 'Walk & Wag,'” Joy Johnsen, special events coordinator at HSHV, said. “This year is going to be more exciting than ever for people -- and dogs!”

As HSHV’s biggest fundraiser of the year, "Walk & Wag" attempts to raise $300,000 for the needy animals in our community. Last year’s event brought over 1,500 people and 600 dogs out to Washtenaw County’s Rolling Hills Park in Ypsilanti.

As with every year, several teams have already raised a ton of money for the event, but we would be remiss if we did not mention our friends at Animal Advocates of Ann Arbor -- or as you may remember, the other A4 -- who are one of the top five teams in terms of dollars raised.

"The A4 team has surpassed our original goal by raising over $3,700 for HSHV," Stephanie Grossnickle Barnhill, who created A4 after falling in love with HSHV. "It's not too late to donate or register, and we invite everyone to join us at this super 'pawesome' event. Be sure to stop by the A4 booth to meet our group, and maybe win a prize for your pup!" 

(Credit: HSHV)

The "Walk & Wag" also features the area’s only 5K run that folks can do with their dogs, a popular “lure” chase where dogs enjoy dashing around a closed course in pursuit of a flag and lots of other dog-friendly vendors and activities such as “Bobbing for weenies,” “Pawparazzi dress up station” and the “Trick and Biscuit” station. After reading all of this, if you now plan to attend (and why wouldn't you?), you may register online and help fundraise by visiting hshv.org/walkandwag.

Where and When

The "Walk & Wag and Run" takes place at Rolling Hills County Park in Ypsilanti and runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. rain or shine. 

How and How Much

Register: Your registration fee not only helps HSHV pay for the event, it also ensures the donations you make go further to help the animals. Your fee includes entry to the event, the run or walk, games, and activities throughout the day.

  • Walker: $30
  • Runner: $50
  • Cat-Napper (not-attending on May 19 but want to fundraise!): $30

When you register, you are allowed to form a team, sign up to an existing team, or simply register as an individual. It is completely up to you. 

What's New

Dog Diving

If your dog loves water, you're going to want the "Ultimate Air Dog" experience. Register to compete in the splash rounds (9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.) for $20 or $25 at the event (limited availability). Winners compete in the finals at noon. Don't want to compete? You can also "try it" for $20 in between the splash rounds! 25% of the jump fees, and 50% of the "try it" fees will be donated back to HSHV.

Event Schedule

  • 8 a.m. - 5k run check-in opens
  • 9 a.m. - 5k race begins
  • 9:15 a.m. - Activities open
  • 9:30 a.m. - Dog diving round one
  • 9:45 a.m. - One-mile fun walk begins
  • 10 a.m. - Vegetarian food trucks open
  • 11 a.m. - Dog diving round two
  • 11:15 a.m. - Best dog trick competition 
  • 12 p.m. - Dog diving finals
  • 12:30 p.m. - Raffle winners and top fundraiser awards

Rules to be followed

For the Walkers

  • Remember: you do not need to walk to participate.
  • If you registered online: Report to the registration table when you arrive. HSHV can take additional donations at that time. You may also check-in early at HSHV on Friday from 4-7 p.m.
  • If you did not register online: Bring your registration fee and any funds raised to the registration table the day of the event. All donations must be submitted by Saturday to count toward your fundraising goal.
  • Checks should be made payable to the Humane Society of Huron Valley or HSHV.
  • An adult must accompany all children under the age of 14.
  • Dogs will receive a bandana, and they are welcome to walk, too, of course. Please see the rules below about dogs.

For the Runners

  • If you registered online: Check in at the Registration Pavilion no later than 8:30 a.m. or you can check-in early at HSHV on Friday from 4-7 p.m.
  • If you did not register online: Register at the Registration Pavilion no later than 8:15 a.m.
  • This is a timed 5K run. Here is the course map.
  • Male and female runners with best overall time (and within each age bracket) will receive prizes. Winners will be announced and time will be posted after the race.
  • Dogs will receive a bandana, and they are welcome to run, too, of course. Limit one dog per runner. All dogs must be at least one year old, up-to-date on vaccinations and well-behaved around people and other dogs. You dog must be on a non-retractable leash at all times. Leashes should be no longer than 6 feet to avoid entanglement with other runners.

For All Dogs

  • All dogs must wear a collar and be on leash at all times.
  • All dogs must be current on vaccinations.
  • Sorry; no dogs in heat.
  • Owners are responsible for the behavior of their dogs.
  • Participants are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs. Waste bags are available for easy clean up.

About the Humane Society of Huron Valley

The Humane Society of Huron Valley is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal "save-rate" among all similar shelters in Michigan.The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website (hshv.org).

About Animal Advocates of Ann Arbor

Animal Advocates of Ann Arbor is group of young professionals who gather resources for, and increase awareness about HSHV while advocating for national animal welfare. Follow the Animal Advocates of Ann Arbor on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Email them at yp4paws@gmail.com. You can also read our conversation with them here

Check out more Ann Arbor events on the A4 Community Calendar 

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