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Paws on Parade goes ‘Bark to the Future’ Sept. 28 on Bangor Waterfront

September 10, 2019
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BANGOR - One of the most fun (and furriest) annual events in the area is coming up on Saturday, September 28. The Bangor Humane Society hosts the 26th edition of “Paws on Parade,” the animal rescue organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, on the Bangor waterfront.

The theme for this year’s edition of “Paws on Parade” is “Bark to the Future,” which celebrates how far Bangor Humane Society has come in their 150-year history of rescuing homeless animals and placing them in loving homes, according to Stacey Coventry, BHS director of development and public relations.

The “Canine Champion” sponsors for this year’s edition of “Paws on Parade” are Cross Insurance and Darling’s Auto Group.

“Paws on Parade” will begin with registration and check-in at 8:00 a.m. on the lawn next to the public parking lot on the Bangor Waterfront. The contests and “shelter dog runway show” – traditionally held after the walk is complete – will be held prior to the walk this year, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The mile-and-a-half walk itself will begin at 10:15 a.m. and will be followed by prizes and the announcement of the grand total raised beginning at 11:00 am.

The 25th edition of “Paws on Parade” in 2018 generated just over $92,000 for Bangor Humane Society, making it the most successful edition to date in terms of fundraising. As of this writing, only about one third of that amount has been raised. Coventry says she is concerned about that figure but hopeful that the numbers will rise in the days leading up to the event.

“One of the factors affecting the numbers is the fact that our two largest fundraising teams are no longer competing for possession of the coveted ‘Paws on Parade’ trophy,” Coventry says.

For several years, The Kindred Spirits Vet Clinic team, led by Dr. Mark Hanks, has had a spirited but friendly rivalry with the Blackstream Cycle Misfits team, led by Russ Maynard. Both teams are still part of the event, but the busy lives of both team leaders have prevented them from being able to put in the time required for fundraising. Dr. Hanks has passed the torch to the rest of his team while Maynard’s available time for fundraising has been cut drastically as he focuses on work responsibilities. Together, the two teams raised more than $35,000 for Paws on Parade in 2018 alone.

“Those two teams duked it out, and it’s been fun to watch, but we knew it wouldn’t last forever,” said Coventry. “It’s been really fun to have these teams compete, raise momentum and money for Bangor Humane Society but that isn’t how we got to where we are today. We got to this point because we have a lot of people in our community giving and doing whatever they can. One person can’t adopt all 150 animals in our building, but 150 families can each come in and adopt one of them. If every team of four or five set a goal of $1,000, or if every person set a goal of raising $100, that really adds up.”

The current leading “Paws on Parade” fundraiser is Kara Swartz. The Bangor Humane Society volunteer (with her beautiful German shepherds) has raised $5,400 as of this writing.

As an example of how the community has helped move Bangor Humane Society’s lifesaving mission to the forefront, Coventry cites the organization’s extremely low euthanasia rate.

“The community said it’s not OK that animals are being euthanized, so it’s been a collaborative effort over the last 20 years to make that happen,” she said. “So far this fiscal year (which began on May 1), our live release rate has been 97%, which is the highest it’s ever been. Last year’s figure was 95%. We keep getting better which allows us to take dogs from other areas of the country that aren’t as fortunate. Those communities are where we were 20 years ago.”

Every two weeks, Bangor Humane Society takes in 15 to 20 animals from around the country, but Coventry stresses that they won’t be able to continue doing that if the adopters or the funds to transport the animals aren’t available.

“It isn’t free for us when we bring in animals from other states,” Coventry said. “We’re getting puppies and other highly adoptable animals, so their adoption fees are a little higher. That helps cover the transport costs and it helps the animals here that require more care.”

Coventry has come with a variety of creative fundraising tips for Paws on Parade. Those tips can be obtained online at support.bangorhumane.org/pawsonparade.

Coventry says that some people choose to support Paws on Parade from afar, especially adopters in other states with BHS alum in their household.

“We’ve adopted to people from all over the country and we even have alumni in Canada,” she said. “Whether you’re with us on the Bangor waterfront or help us from your own community, it’s really important.”

As a further incentive to participate, Bangor Humane Society is offering several levels of related swag for fundraisers, according to Coventry.

“We have some great new ‘Bark to the Future’ T-shirts for everyone who raises at least $25. Supporters who raise between $100-$249 will receive a T-shirt and a pet water bottle and bowl. For those raising between $250-$499, they’ll receive a T-shirt, plus a canvas tote bag. Fundraisers who bring in $500-$999 will receive a T-shirt plus a full-zip ‘Bark to the Future’ sweatshirt. Supporters raising $1,000 or more will receive all of the incentives.”

All Bangor Humane Society alumni dogs taking part in “Paws on Parade” will receive a maroon “Bark to the Future” bandana upon registration. Supporters who rescued animals from other agencies or found pet companionship through a different avenue will receive a teal teal-colored “Bark to the Future” bandana bearing the word “Friend.”

The Bangor Humane Society has an annual operating budget of $1.2 million. Of that total, $200,000 is earmarked for medical expenses. The organization receives no state or federal government funding, nor do they receive funds from organizations like the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA. Funding is sustainable only contributions from the public and private sector and events like “Paws on Parade.”

Coventry says she’s excited about Bangor Humane Society’s upcoming 150th anniversary annual report due out soon that will highlight many of the successful matches the organization has made.

“Some of the stories you’ll read are incredible,” she said. “We’re here for any animal in need but some animals take longer to heal, to rehabilitate, and those are the animals that ‘Paws on Parade’ really supports. The dog that you’ll see on the cover is the first dog we’ve ever been able to save from parvo – a deadly and contagious virus that animals rarely survive. When he arrived as a puppy, we had to quarantine him in a cat kennel in our maternity room. He had a 50/50 chance of survival, but he beat parvo and was adopted into a wonderful family.”

(Author’s note: I am a member of the planning committee for “Paws on Parade,” and will be delivering announcements during the event, but am otherwise unaffiliated with Bangor Humane Society. I have adopted a number of incredible animals from the facility over the years, which is why I will always be a supporter and fan of their work.)

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 September 2019 13:43

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