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Charity walk attracts over 75 dogs

Amanda Gray | Monday, September 29, 2008

Yesterday afternoon, the Notre Dame and South Bend area community came together in front of the Rockne Memorial to participate in the 3rd Annual Domer Doggy Walk.

The dog walk’s proceeds go to the St. Joseph County Spay Neuter Assistance Program, or SJC-SNAP, a program that helps overpopulation in the St. Joseph County area, according to the pamphlet handed out to participants.

Around 75 dogs and their owners showed up to participate, said head coordinator, senior Meghan O’Donoghue.

The walk and corresponding charity were founded three years ago by the Animal Welfare and the Human Animal Bond class taught by Professors Michelle Whaley and Kay Stewart, said Whaley.

“The charity that the walk is supporting is important … The Saint Joseph County Spay Neuter Assistance Program, Inc., a not for profit organization, will assist low income pet owners with spay or neuter surgeries and educate the community on pet overpopulation, the value of pet sterilization, and responsible pet ownership,” Whaley said.

O’Donoghue is also president of the Pre-vet club, which organized the event with the Biology club and the Animal Welfare class, Whaley said.

“I love this event because it gives everyone a chance to meet other dog lovers,” Meghan O’Donoghue said. “I especially like seeing professors and other employees at Notre Dame in this aspect, because it shows a completely different side of their lives. It’s just a fun day to get together, take your dog for a walk, and raise money for a good cause.”

Registration started at noon in front of the Rockne Memorial, and the blessing of the animals took place at 1 p.m.

Other events scheduled were the one and two-mile walks around the lakes, spray-on doggy tattoos, and contests, according to the pamphlet.

Before the walk began, Father Michael Driscoll gave the blessing of the animals. A dog owner himself, Father Driscoll was asked by the Biology department to give the blessing at last year’s and this year’s event said Driscoll. Father Driscoll read the blessing from the steps of the Rockne Memorial. The dogs and owners were blessed as they made their ways to the walk.

Walkers brought their pets and feelings towards the issue at hand.

Chris, from Mishawaka, and Hershey, her miniature schnauzer, came out to support the program’s charity.

“Overpopulation is sad,” Chris said. “That’s why I’m excited about the charity.”

Volunteers from local shelters, like The Humane Society and Pet Refuge, were also in attendance.

Abby, from Clay Township and a volunteer at Pet Refuge, brought Nemo, her own dog, and Chloe, a dog that she is fostering, to the Walk.

“It’s nice, just coming out, seeing other dogs, and having fun,” she said.