YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. – Dogs of all shapes, sizes, colors and breeds paraded through FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights Saturday in the SPCA Walkathon and Pet Fair.
Dogs and their handlers strolled on a 2.5 mile trail in the park to raise money for the SPCA. Contributions from vendors and sponsors also helped the organization raise money for its programs, including the rescue and rehabilitation of animals.
SPCA spokesperson Lisa Bonanno said she expected nearly 2,000 people and 1,000 dogs for the event. She estimated the fundraiser would raise approximately $100,000 for the SPCA.
The dog disparity was perhaps best reflected in the animals brought to the park by Yorktown’s Dianne Alves and Kerri Thomas of Peekskill.
Alves and her daughters, Nyah, 4, and Aysia, 10, attended with their Chiuaua, Carona. Thomas brought Jax, a 4-year-old, 120-pound Alaskan Malamute. Carona, checking in at less than 10 pounds, was one of the smallest dogs in the show. Jax was one of the biggest.
“Carona is never intimidated,’’ said Diane Alves, who was attending the show for the fourth year. “I want to say she enjoys it. When we take her home she has all this energy. She runs around all over the place.”
Thomas’ dog is an intimidating presence, but was taken aback last year when he saw a bigger dog at the show. “He didn’t know how to react,’’ Thomas said. “He was a little scared. He didn’t realize there were dogs bigger than him.”
Billy Liljeroos of Mahopac attended the walk with his Beagle, Bandit. He has walked for three years in the event, and enjoys coming to the park frequently with his pet.
“He sniffs around, he likes the rabbits and woodchucks,’’ Liljeroos said. “We lived in Brooklyn and moved a few years ago. He really likes getting out and seeing all the other dogs.”
The event included music, games and activities for children and a variety of information booths, primarily pet related. Many of the dog owners took pledges from donors to support the SPCA of Westchester.
“It’s really nice,’’ Liljeroos said. “It’s nice to connect with all of the other animal lovers around here. And there are too many homeless dogs that need to find homes. This is a great way to help them find a person that will take care of them.”
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