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The waggiest walk in town

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Bangor Humane Society's Paws on Parade fundraiser is back

BANGOR - The Bangor Waterfront will be the setting for Paws on Parade, the Bangor Humane Society's largest fundraiser of the year, on Sept. 24. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.

According to Stacey Coventry, Director of Development and Public Relations for Bangor Humane Society, the theme for this year's 23rd annual walk will be 'Make It Wag.'

'Last year, we had over 400 registered walkers and a total of more than 800 two-legged and four-legged participants,' Coventry told me in a phone interview. 'It was a big year for us because it was the first year that more money was raised by teams than through sponsorship dollars.'

The walk itself will be a 1.5 mile walk through the downtown area, beginning and ending at Bangor's Waterfront.

Shortly after 9:00 a.m., canines and their human companions will gather at the starting line at the intersection of Front St and Railroad St, near Darling's Waterfront Pavilion.

Following a blessing from Mother Marguerite Rita' Steadman of St. John's Episcopal Church, the walk will begin, loop through the downtown area and return to the waterfront where participants can take part in various contests and take in the special runway show' put together by Bangor Humane Society staff and volunteers.

'The Shelter Dog Runway Show is a chance for us to show off some of the great dogs we have up for adoption right now at Bangor Humane Society,' Coventry told me. 'You'll get to learn a little about each dog and what makes them unique. We'll also announce our contest winners and award prizes at that time.'

The contest categories include 'biggest dog,' 'smallest dog' and the costume contest.

A special New England Patriots-themed raffle to benefit the Bangor Humane Society's Paws on Parade team has been made possible by Cross Insurance Center and the Cross family. Three footballs have been donated, individually signed by Patriots players Rob Gronkowsi, Julian Edelman and Jamie Collins. Raffle tickets can be purchased on Saturday at the event or in advance by calling Bangor Humane Society at 942-8902. The raffle ends Sept. 24 at noon.

Paws on Parade is a major fundraiser for the shelter, according to Coventry.

'Some people assume that we receive federal or state aid or funding from the Humane Society of the United States, but we don't,' she said. 'Paws on Parade launches our biggest fundraising time of the year. From January to September 1 of this year, our live-release rate is 90 percent, up five percent from last year.'

'Live release' means lives saved either through adoption, lost animals that have been reunited with their owner or animals that have been relocated to another shelter.

'We're receiving more animals that require medical and behavioral attention,' Coventry told me. 'We spend over $200,000 every year in animal care (which includes spaying and neutering). Every animal adopted from Bangor Humane Society has been spayed or neutered before going to their forever home. It's a significant part of our budget, but the numbers tell us that it's working because we're seeing fewer animals than in past years. Every dollar that we raise is raised locally and stays local to directly impact animals in our community.'

You don't need a dog to participate in Paws on Parade, but if your dog is well-behaved, gets along well with other dogs and is on a leash, you are encouraged to bring them to Bangor's Waterfront on the morning of Sept. 24 for the waggiest walk in town.

(To pre-register for Paws on Parade, visit www.BangorHumane.org/paws.)

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