Helping the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley this weekend will be a walk in the park.
The annual Paws Walk is set for Saturday morning at Muskingum Park in Marietta. Pet owners are asked to collect money for the event then bring their four-legged friends to the park for a pet parade, contests and prizes.
Costumes - for animals and owners - are encouraged but not required.
"For some reason, people like dressing their animals up in costume," said Jim Baldinger, a Humane Society volunteer helping with the event. "We've tried different themes (but) we've decided to just stick with this Halloween, Hairy Scary Paws Walk kind of thing."
A continental breakfast will be offered at 8 a.m., with registration for the walk starting at 9. After a blessing of the pets, participants will parade down Front Street to the Ohio River levee, then return to the park.
Baldinger said the event is open to all animals, but it's most conducive to dogs.
If you go
What: Humane Society of the Ohio Valley's Hairy, Scary Paws Walk.
When: Saturday; continental breakfast at 8 a.m., registration at 9, blessing of the pets at 9:50 and the walk starts at 10.
Where: Muskingum Park; pet parade will travel down the west side of Front Street to the Ohio River levee fountain, then back to the park, walking on the east side of Front Street.
Who: Pets and their owners; costumes encouraged but not required.
Cost: $10; raising $25 makes participants eligible for prizes, $50 earns prize eligibility and a Humane Society of the Ohio Valley T-shirt.
Proceeds: Benefit the Humane Society's shelter on Mount Tom Road in Marietta.
For more information: (740) 525-4952, 373-8131 or 373-9503.
In addition to the Halloween heme, the walk is dedicated to the late Ashlee Scott, of Williamstown.
"Ashlee was a great supporter of the Humane Society. She passed away (last year) at an early age, 38," Baldinger said.
After her death, Baldinger said, mail and remembrances in honor of Scott were sent to the shelter, including some from around the country.
Several animals currently staying at the shelter will be brought to the event, said Jane Snell, president of the society's board. In addition, there will be a notebook featuring pictures and information on every dog and cat in the shelter. Should someone take an interest in one of them, they can have a board member sign the back of the picture, allowing them to get a discount when they adopt the animal, Snell said.
The cost to participate in the walk is $10. Collecting $25 for the event makes a person eligible for prizes. A contribution of at least $50 will also get them a T-shirt.
It takes $18,000 to $20,000 a month to keep the shelter doors open, said manager Steve Herron.
Almost a year ago, Herron said the shelter was in danger of closing its doors by May 2010 due to a lack of funding. Herron said things are looking better now, thanks to fundraisers like a recent poker run, a professional wrestling "Throwdown for the Pound" and this year's Broughton Ice Cream Social.
The shelter still needs the support of the community, Herron said. In addition to contributing through fundraisers, Snell said people can help the shelter through by donating items like cat litter, pet food, treats, laundry and dish detergent and bleach.
There are currently 45 dogs and 62 cats at the shelter. Snell said the shelter has transported a number of dogs to rescue organizations lately, doing as much as possible to provide them with good homes.
"The only dogs that we ever euthanize are dogs that are very aggressive and can't be re-schooled or dogs that are hurt beyond the point" that medical care can help them, she said.
Cats are a different story, as there are often more in need than there are homes willing to take them, Snell said.
"It's sad," she said. "(But) the animals over there are taken care of probably better than they ever have been (in their lives)."