'Howl-a-ween' Dog Walk planned in Delhi

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Delhi — The Heart of the Catskills Humane Society has something to howl about this month as it celebrates Halloween early this year. Come to “Howl-o-ween,” the 11th Annual Woofs & Wags Dog Walk, on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the American Legion Field in Delhi.
The shelter hosts a variety of seasonally inspired activities like the Barking Cauldron Café, Haunted Hay dog maze, musical sits and downs, face painting, psychic readings, henna tattoos by Island Girl Henna, and photos with your dog by Candid Canine as part of its yearly fundraiser.
“We are asking people to complete a pledge form or donate $5 at the door,” says Deb Crute, director of shelter operations. “All money raised goes directly to shelter operations and the expenses associated with medicines, food and overhead.

A busy place
The shelter cares for roughly 200 cats and 75 dogs at a cost of $1,350 a day, and we do so with a talented staff, dedicated volunteers and individual donor support. This great care takes place right here in Delhi, seven days a week, 365 days a year, throughout holidays, snowstorms and summer vacations. And Howl-o-ween will help us keep those doors open.”
“This year, we’re asking dog walkers to dress in their funniest, funkiest and craziest costumes for this afternoon affair,” says Crute. “We’re giving out prizes for the funniest and most original costumes this year. But leave the scary masks and capes at home as we don’t want to frighten off our dogs and cats looking for their forever homes.” The top three fundraisers will also be honored with spook-tacular prizes.

Public welcome
Open to the public, this year’s Dog Walk “Howl-o-ween” honors pet ownership and is one of four key shelter fundraisers to raise money for the care of over 1,100 animals each year. “People collect pledges and come to the dog walk to join us in the wonderful rewards of pet guardianship,” adds Crute. “For those who can’t join us on September 14, we hope you’ll donate online or sponsor an adoption dog or cat at the walk for $100. This year, 12 shelter dogs strut their stuff in hopes of winning the hearts of someone at the Walk. We’re including three basset hounds from the pack of 19 we took in last month. We’ve successfully placed six so far. But it would be wonderful for Lady, Spike and Freckles to discover their new homes as a result of their appearances at Howl-o-ween. They’d really have something to howl about then!” For a complete list of shelter dogs looking for their fur-ever homes, visit www.heartofthecatskills.org.

Getting underway
Activities, games and contests begin at 11:30 a.m. when registration opens. Pastor Martha Vink oversees a blessing of the animals at noon followed by the Shelter Dog introductions. “These dogs lead the way with volunteer and staff handlers and will be outfitted in their best costumes,” explains Crute. “The afternoon is filled with trick-or-treating for dogs, bobbing for hot dogs and apples (for dogs and humans), and crystal ball readings. People are also invited to enter a carved or painted pumpkin in the Great Pumpkin Contest. And Chet Delameter will spin hauntingly inspired tunes all afternoon and yes, we will Monster Mash.”
Back again this year is the Feline Furr-tography Contest, where cat owners can submit photos of their pets in the following cat-egories: Boo-tiful Kitty, Scaredy Cat, The Great Pumpkin, and Who was that Masked Cat? Submissions are $5 per photo and must be received by Saturday, September 7. “Dog walkers vote for their favorite in the Candy Corn Cat Tent that day. You don’t need to be present to win, but you do need to properly label your photo.” Submissions should include pet owner’s name, cat’s name, address, phone number and category entry.

Key supporters
“Thanks to our Count Barkula sponsors — Century 21 Chesser Realty in Andes, Delaware National Bank of Delhi and Delhi Liquor Store — we’re able to promote the event ahead of time. We have nearly 40 sponsors who have donated time, money and talent to make this event possible. Help us support those sponsors in turn by visiting our website, heartofthecatskills.org, and saying thank you when you visit their businesses. We also are thankful for the many volunteers behind the scenes and on event day who make this fun event a reality.”
For more information, pledge sheets and Feline Furr-tography registration forms, visit www.heartofthecatskills.org. Donations to the shelter can also be made online at heartofthecatkills.org or mailed checks made payable to “HCHS” can be sent to PO Box 88, Delhi, NY 13753.