Animal Allies’ Walk for Animals Fundraiser Brings Paws for a Good Cause Back to Lakewalk

250 people and their four-legged friends signed up for the two-mile walk.

DULUTH, Minn.- The Lakewalk went to the dogs Thursday, as hundreds signed up for Animal Allies’ Walk For Animals fundraiser, which returned after being canceled last year.

“It’s just awesome to see them all dressed up and kind of walking in a big group down the boardwalk,” said Nicole Facciotto, Humane Education Manager for Animal Allies.

And after a rough year during the pandemic, the shelter hopes one of the biggest fundraisers of the year can throw them a bone.

Panting faces and wagging tails pack the Lakewalk, as 250 people and their four-legged friends signed up for the two-mile walk.

The Lakewalk and Leif Erickson Park was filled with dozens of water bowls for thirsty pups, and 50 volunteers helping out.

“It just kind of re-pumps our entire staff and all of our volunteers just to see our supporters here and just to talk with everybody,” Facciotto said.

The walk is one of Animal Allies’ biggest fundraisers of the year.

After taking a pause during a rough pandemic year for the shelter, they hope this year’s fundraiser throws them a bone, by raising at least $50,000.

“It’s an optimistic goal, but we’re really hoping we get there,” said Facciotto.

“We know it’s been a rough year for everyone with the pandemic so we’re really hoping we can pull this one out and keep funding our day-to-day mission,” she said.

During the walk at Leif Erickson Park, a free microchipping clinic dozens of vendors and live music are available for both new participants and returning furry faces to enjoy.

“This’ll be my 3rd year now. So we started coming right when we first got Bauer,” said Erin Cullen, with her dogs Bauer and Copper.

One of the bigger hits every year is the dog agility course where you can show off your pets’ skills jumping climbing and dodging.

Though for some, following directions is tough enough.

“I think they’re really excited to do the agility course,” Cullen said. “They’re not very good at it but they like when people cheer for them.”

For third-timers Erin and Ben Lowen it’s not only a fun outing for Bauer and Copper but also a good way to give back to the organization which helped them find their forever friends.

“They like it, they like making friends with other dogs,” she said. “We really like it.”

“We have a cat from Animal Allies, we like supporting the local shelter and being able to donate and raise funds for them so it’s important to us as well to keep them updated and keep going with that,” said Cullen.

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