Community fundraiser benefits animal shelter


Lifestyle Reporter
Joyce Hayes praises her dogs April 18 after winning the costume contest at the San Marcos Plaza Park.

Dogs and their owners gathered in the San Marcos Plaza Park on Saturday to participate in the 11th annual Mutt Strutt.

Trish Thompson, event coordinator, said the Mutt Strutt begins with a one-mile walk through the park and a wide range of festivities take place at the finish line.

“The walk usually takes about 30 minutes,” Thompson said. “Then everyone and their dogs meet back to listen to music and participate in the silent auction, raffle and pet contests.”

Thompson said the goal of the Mutt Strutt is to support the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter by raising awareness and promoting responsibility.

“The event is volunteer-based, and we have a lot of sponsorships so the money can go directly to the shelter,” Thompson said. “The money helps by providing sponsored adoptions, spaying and neutering and other wellness services.”

A committee of dog lovers, local groomers and employees of the shelter and the city run the event, Thompson said.

“The committee got together 11 years ago because we heard about another fundraiser in town that was supposed to be donating to the shelter but only ended up giving them a small portion of the proceeds,” Thompson said. “We wanted to organize an event that actually made a difference for the animals of San Marcos, and it’s been a success.”

This year’s Mutt Strutt had more than 50 sponsors and over 150 attendees who came to show their support for the shelter, Thompson said.

Kara Montiel, animal services manager for the City of San Marcos, said residents should participate in events supporting local organizations.

“There are a lot of events that happen in this city, and this one supports the community directly,” Montiel said. “I think it’s important for people to be aware that the shelter is here. There are a lot of services we provide that the residents don’t know about.”

Montiel said fundraising allowed the event to assist the shelter in providing services such as microchipping, rabies clinics and sponsored adoptions.

Jennifer Hine, accounting graduate student, said she and her dog Scout were able to interact with other animal lovers at the event.

“Scout has had the opportunity to be social with all the dogs, and I get to socialize with other dog owners,” Hine said. “It’s kind of a calm, relaxed environment, and it’s for a good cause.”

Hine adopted Scout two years ago from the shelter and plans to attend the Mutt Strutt in the future to show her support.

Selena Guerrero, health information management senior, attended the event although she does not own a dog. She wanted to spend time with dogs that were up for adoption.

“My favorite part was interacting with the dogs from the shelter and taking them out,” Guerrero said. “They really enjoyed the walk. I’m looking to adopt a dog after graduation, so I’m just seeing what different kinds of dogs are out there.”

Joyce Hayes, a local groomer from Driftwood, said she has participated in the Mutt Strutt for the past 10 years. 

“I donated gift baskets for the auction this year,” Hayes said. “It’s just my way of giving back to the shelter and to the animals.”

Hayes entered her dog into the best-dressed contest and won. She has enjoyed dressing her pets for the past 15 years.

“They’ve been Bonnie and Clyde, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, and this time they (were) Smokey the Bear and his park ranger sidekick,” Hayes said. “They don’t mind it. They are very well behaved since we’ve been dressing them up for so long.”

Hayes enjoys supporting the Mutt Strutt because the shelter ensures the money goes toward sponsored adoptions.

“I do this every year to save the animals because it helps get them out of the shelter,” Hayes said. “Eventually I hope Texas becomes a completely ‘no-kill’ state.”