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HART walk hits second decade

It's rare for the family dog or cat to live for 20 years, but a local event supporting local furry friends is entering its second decade. The 20th annual Hoofin' it for HART walk is Saturday, May 23 at the Northland Arboretum. Event registration ...

It's rare for the family dog or cat to live for 20 years, but a local event supporting local furry friends is entering its second decade.

The 20th annual Hoofin' it for HART walk is Saturday, May 23 at the Northland Arboretum. Event registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m.

To celebrate the round-number anniversary, the event's goal is to raise $20,000 for the organization, whose mission statement is to "build compassionate relationships between people and animals through quality education, sheltering and adoptions."

HART Executive Director Donna Wambeke said her favorite memory from the event's first 19 years would be "the first walk, when people actually showed up."

"Every shelter was doing a walk, so we thought if we could do one, we could raise some money," Wambeke said. "And we had a full parking lot."

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The "Young at HART" students will lead the walk again this year, which will last about two miles on the Arboretum Trail.

Those raising pledges should have their money counted and ready to be turned in at the registration table. Pledge sheets can be found at hartpets.org or picked up at the shelter, however, a pledge sheet isn't required to donate. Donations can also be made online via the website or by calling the shelter at 829-4141.

This year's $20,000 fundraising goal is the biggest the group's ever shot for, Wambeke said. Typically, the event raises around $10,000, and the most raised in one year was $13,000.

"All the money that's raised at the walk is directly used for animal care," Wambeke said.

Prizes will also be presented to those raising a certain amount of money. Donating $25-$99 nets a HART vehicle magnet, donations of $100-$249 nets a HART t-shirt and donations of more than $250 nets a HART sweatshirt. There will also be a prize for the team raising the most money.

Four-legged walk participants must be current on vaccinations and leashed at all times. Leashes should be no longer than six feet, and canine participants should be friendly towards other dogs and people, in order to avoid issues.

Brainerd Kennel Club will be on hand to do an obedience demonstration.

Three other guests will be present to highlight the different work humans can do with dog companions. Patriot Assistance Dogs provides service dogs for veterans, Judy Fletcher and Riley are a certified team focusing on visiting children in hospitals and Jan and Chaz are HART education ambassadors who visit classrooms and nursing homes.

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