About 1,000 people accompanied by their four-legged friends enjoyed a leisurely 2-mile walk around the marina where canopies and tents lined the sidewalks for vendors, pet adoption booths and informational non-profit groups to entertain walkers and their pets.
Kimberly Chandler, communications manager for NHS, said the event is one of the organization’s main sources of revenue each year.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Our goal is to raise $100,000 to go toward providing food and shelter for the animals in Reno,” Chandler said. “We get thousands of pets coming through the shelter and it becomes more than just food and shelter. They may need medical attention and vaccines so this event is a very big deal.”
In addition to the walk and booths, NHS provided contests such as best dressed pet, best pet trick and a look-a-like contest for pets and their owners. Diane Machen and her dogs, Indy and Misty Blue, which were both rare breed rescue dogs, won the best dressed contest with Machen’s homemade costumes.
“It is a great way to bring the community together and share in their love of animals and have fun,” Chandler said of the contests.
Following the costume contest was a demonstration by the Sparks Police Department’s K-9 unit. Officers Pat Dyer and Chris Bare, armed with K-9 officer Jamie, received loud applause and some gasps of amazement when Jamie showed off her abilities.
“She is a very versatile dog. She is a patrol dog that can also track people or drugs and she does some crowd control as well,” Dyer said. “During last year’s shooting at The Nugget, she was keeping back all the people who would not listen to the police officers.”
Dyer, who is the sergeant in charge of the K-9 unit, said performing the attack and protection demonstrations was critical in keeping the community aware of the K-9 unit’s teaching strategies and capabilities.
“I think there is a misconception of our dogs being vicious,” he said. “When she was out (doing the demonstration) she was not angry, she was doing her job. I went over to her after and pet her and we are still friends.”
The main attraction out of all the events was Animal Planet’s Hollywood dog and cat trainer Joel Silverman. He and his dog Foster proved the intelligence of dogs during their performance where Silverman had Foster execute commands such as “roll over” and “cover up” before stunning the audience with a unique trick.
“People often ask how smart dogs really are,” Silverman said before placing an envelope in Foster’s mouth and sending him up a two-stair ramp to a mailbox where he proceeded to open the lid, slip the envelope inside, close the lid and lift the red flag before running back to Silverman for a treat.
Silverman will be bringing his expertise to the local Fox channel in September and he will feature pets from NHS.