ASHTABULA — Festively dressed dogs and owners scampered about Kent State University at Ashtabula on Saturday during the BooWow Walk on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s been fantastic,” Diane Brunell, president of the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League, said of the transition from Maple Ridge Golf Course to the KSUA campus.
Brunell said it is the biggest fundraiser for the organization and helps fund the budget for the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.
“We had 65 pre-registered, but it seems like we have a lot of walk-ins,” Brunell said. She said the organization was hoping for 200 participants and by the time the event started, there were dozens of teams ready to walk.
“We are hoping to raise anywhere between $15,000 to $20,000,” she said. The full proceeds will be known at a later date.
Brunell said the organization had a lot of large medical bills for animals during the last year as well.
The course around the KSUA campus was coordinated to remain on grass, Brunell said. “We are staying on grass for animal safety,” she said.
A variety of prizes were awarded to participants, Brunell said. She said best group costume, best overall costume, highest pledge and children costumes were awarded at the event.
There were 12 stops on the walk where people and dogs could receive treats. Many of the stations were manned by costumed volunteers.
Baxter was dressed as Super Dog and didn’t seem to mind too much. “He wasn’t too bad as long as other things were going on,” said owner Denise Legg of Conneaut.
Legg said she likes what the APL does for dogs that don’t have homes.
Linda Parker, of Painesville, came to the walk with her grandson Cade Livengood, 4, of Willoughby, dressed as Ghostbusters. “I have been coming to this for years and years,” she said.
Parker wasn’t the only out-of-county participant, as a very thankful Shannon Perry, of Lorain County, and her tutu dressed canine, returned to Ashtabula County to help the organization that delivered her dog Maisey to her several months ago. “I got her from the Ashtabula APL. The APL waited a week for us to get home from vacation,” she said of finding her pet online and asking the organization to keep her until they returned.
Shelby McBride came from Portage County to participate in the event. “We’ve been coming to this for years. We follow it wherever it goes,” she said while dressed as Winnie the Pooh.
Jennifer Gray, of Jefferson, dressed her dog Mario in a costume and rescued him in mid-air while he leaped from a stroller. She said she likes to support the APL and likes the activity with her pooch. “There aren’t a lot of activities for dogs,” she said.