Every week in Los Angeles dogs are welcomed into shelter program housing. They come in all shapes and sizes, old and young, happy, wiggly and playful, shy or withdrawn, and even terrified. All with one common denominator–they have been all abandoned.
Every day, more than 9,000 pets are unnecessarily killed simply because they don’t have a home. Each one a valued life worth saving. In Los Angeles, the mission of a no-kill city can only be achieved when people come together. Best Friends Animal Society is an organization that works collaboratively with animal rescue groups, city shelters and passionate individuals to make this a reality.
Best Friends Animal Society is a national nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets. No More Homeless Pets is a grassroots effort to place dogs and cats considered “unadoptable” into good homes, and to reduce the number of unwanted pets through effective spay and neuter programs. Their initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from headquarters in Kanab, Utah, the country’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary, and their work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.
Best Friends started Strut Your Mutt as a fundraising event that helps local animal rescue groups raise critical funds to continue their life saving work. This year, Strut Your Mutt is being held in nine cities across the country and includes a virtual ‘Strut Across America’, with the goal of raising $1 million for rescue organizations nationwide. The annual walk and festival is unique in that the proceeds go directly to the rescue organizations that are participating using a pledge system allows teams of participants to raise funds for their chosen organization.
September 22, 2012 Best friends in Los Angeles Strut their Mutt at Pan Pacific Park and, above their projected goal, they raised $357,432. The event opened with a walk by our fairy friends. The walk and festival started with a parade of beautiful dogs, their owners, supporters, photographers and sponsors sharing for the cause. All with the intention to raise funds for those less fortunate pets that have so many needs, including a home. In an area surrounded by white tents, the festival set the atmosphere with a group of sponsors and their amenities offered for the lucky (dogs) walk participants. Among those amenities, puppies enjoyed pictures on the red carpet, treats, toys, pawdicures, music, entertainment and much more services making the time in the park for these strong supporters, a fun one.
Best Friends’ Senior Director of Marketing Julie Castle, who started as a volunteer organizer, remembers their first event in Salt Lake City, Utah, “This first year was a disaster. It rained, snowed, a donated sound system was destroyed when a happy-go-lucky golden retriever pulled it off the table and every single miserable participant looked like they’d survived the siege of St. Petersburg. I was certain that was the end of the beginning for Strut Your Mutt.” Fortunately, that was not the case.
Julie persevered with Strut Your Mutt and, within a couple of years, her problem-child event blossomed into a major community activity in Salt Lake City and a primary fundraiser for Best Friends programs. This year, Strut Your Mutt walks took place in nine cities, including Salt Lake, Los Angeles, New York, Jacksonville, Austin, St. Louis, Baltimore, Portland and Lafayette. Network partners in communities that aren’t hosting an actual walk also joined in virtual events. This year there will be 173 Best Friends Network partner organizations doing the Strut, including 51 virtual events, with the goal to raise $1,000,000 for homeless pets!
For many years, Best Friends’ presence in Los Angeles was carried out through its many adoption events, spay-neuter campaigns and partnerships with city and county government. In early 2012, the Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay Neuter Center in Mission Hills, Calif. opened to the public. The donations raised through Strut Your Mutt will be used to fund life saving adoption programs and spay/neuter services, to ultimately impact the number of pets entering and leaving the shelters.
Buster, Best Friends Animal Society’s mascot, was so thrilled about the community event that he wanted to pass on his appreciation for each person and canine that showed their support either in person or in spirit. Consequently, we all are getting one strut closer to no more homeless pets!
To get involved or learn more about the work of Best Friends Animal Society, please visit bestfriends.org or email FosterLA@bestfriends.org. You can also visit a Pet Adoption Center and see available dogs/cats.