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June 22. 2013 11:02PM

Dogs, owners pound the pavement for homeless animals


Alex and Dorian Wonderlick of Vermont walk their Italian Greyhounds, Mariah, Sadie, Annabel and Patty Cake, during the 25th annual Monadnock Humane Society Walk for Animals in Swanzey on Saturday morning. One of the dogs rode in the stroller. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)

SWANZEY - Dogs of all shapes and sizes - from shih tzus to leonbergs - joined their owners for the 25th annual Monadnock Humane Society Walk for Animals in Swanzey on Saturday morning, raising money and awareness for homeless animals.

About 150 people joined in the walk, held at the Keene Dillant-Hopkins Airport.

Though the weather was hot and muggy, kiddie pools full of cool water for the dogs in were located at water stations along the 3-mile route.

"It's just fun to be around all the dogs and their owners," said Dorian Wonderlick of Vermont, who walked with her husband and their four Italian Greyhounds.

Renee Legault of Keene brought her children and the family's dog, a Chihuahua/dachshund mix named Sydney, who had been close to being euthanized when the family rescued it from a shelter in South Carolina.

"He's a joy. That's partly why we're here: to raise more awareness," Legault said, and to show support for the work the society does to place animals in good homes.

The society is a private, nonprofit organization based in Swanzey that's funded by the community and serves 44 towns in the region.

Each year, the society provides food, shelter, veterinary and behavioral care, assessment and placement services for more than 2,200 animals.

About 6 million animals are euthanized nationwide each year, but about half of them are adoptable, said Michelle Thevenin, executive director of Monadnock Humane Society.

The local community the society serves is its priority, she said. However, the society also partners with shelters across the country, expanding its mission's reach.

Saturday afternoon, the society was expecting a shipment of eight dogs from a shelter in Texas.

"In other parts of the county, adoptable dogs are being euthanized, and we clearly have a demand for dogs here," Thevenin said.

Early and online registrations, donations and sponsorships topped $20,000 Saturday morning, Thevenin said. The goal for the day, she said, was $30,000.

The annual walk is one of the society's biggest fundraisers, along with the Hair Ball held in the fall.

This is the first year the event was held at the airport, and it was a great success with a lot of support from the city of Keene, the town of Swanzey and airport officials, Thevenin said.

"It's the end of our fiscal year, so from my perspective, it's a nice way to go out," she said.

mpierce@newstote.com


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