PLATTSBURGH - If you're driving by Melissa L. Penfield Park this weekend and you see hundreds of animals, Melinda Clark doesn't want you to be alarmed. In fact, she wants you to stop by,
Clark, assistant manager of the Adirondack Humane Society animal shelter, is heading up this year's PetWalk, which celebrates its 17th year this Sunday, May 1. Clark, who helped oversee last year's event, said she's looking forward to welcoming dogs and their owners to Melissa L. Penfield Park for what has become an event that draws hundreds each year.
"We're doing a few things differently this year, but it's basically going to be the same event," said Clark.
New this year will be an informational display for Smart Tags, which offers a way for owners to find their furry friends in the event they become lost or missing.
"It's basically a collar with a tag on it that has a microchip in it," explained Clark. "It has a tracking mechanism in it that can help you find your cat or dog."
Smart Tags are less invasive than pet identification tags like HomeAgain, which are implanted under the animal's skin.
"HomeAgain is wonderful but some people would rather have the chip on their pet without it being implanted," said Clark.
The Adirondack Humane Society will also recognize local students who have raised money for the shelter through various fundraisers such as ice cream socials and bottle drives.
"We just want to show our appreciation for what they've done," said Clark. The event will again consist of a walk through the park for pets and their owners and "critter contests."
"We have five categories," explained Clark. "We have Loudest Bark, Highest Jumper, Best Trick, Fastest Tail Wag and the Pet and Owner Look-Alike. That's a fun one. We've had some good ones with that."
The community is welcomed to turn out for the event to show their support for the Adirondack Humane Society, said Clark, with only those wishing to participate in the walk required to pay a $10 registration fee that day.
"That will benefit the Humane Society," said Clark.
The event is expected to draw at least 100 to 150 people, but Clark said she'd like to see even more turn out to break last year's attendance of more than 200 people and their pets.
"It's a great event and it's great to see how many people in the community appreciate and support us. We appreciate them, too," said Clark.
This Sunday's event will begin at the Boynton Avenue park with registration at 12 p.m., followed by opening remarks by honorary chairperson Jim Moore, meteorologist for WPTZ Newschannel 5. The walk will follow immediately after.
For more information about the PetWalk, call the Adirondack Humane Society at 561-7297.