Napa Humane’s celebration of the pet-and-human bond will return to downtown streets on Sunday morning, after two years away during the pandemic.
Hundreds of dogs and owners are scheduled to stroll central Napa during the 11th annual Walk for Animals. The annual procession, which will be followed by a pet-themed festival at the Oxbow Commons park, raises tens of thousands of dollars for Napa Humane’s spay-neuter programs and other animal welfare work.
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Since the last Walk for Animals in August 2019, crowd restrictions caused by the COVID-19 emergency have led Napa Humane to switch to virtual events for two years running.
Napa Humane had raised nearly $45,000 as of Wednesday toward its goal of $80,000 for the walk, according to executive director Wendi Piscia. The nonprofit announced at least 190 registrations for the event, with a goal of 300 by Sunday.
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Because of the gradual return of mass gatherings since the pandemic’s emergence, the group is setting a lower fundraising target this year, compared to the estimated $100,000 it raised during the last Walk for Animals three years ago.
“We decreased expectations based on the two-year absence of in person events,” Piscia said Wednesday. “With any event, you get more momentum year over year.”
Sunday’s stroll will begin and end at the Oxbow Commons on McKinstry Street, where registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The walk starts at 9:30 a.m. and will follow a loop through the park, on the First Street bridge across the Napa River, and then south on Main Street and north up the Harry T. Price Riverwalk. Participants will then head east on the bridge and return to the Commons.
Following the walk will be a festival at the Commons that will feature animal contests, a photo booth, a silent auction and raffle, and demonstrations from the Napa Valley Dog Training Club.
Also on display will be pets up for adoption from the Napa County Animal Shelter and Ripple Effect Animal Project, Napa Humane’s partners in the event.
Online registration for the Walk for Animals ends at 11:59 p.m. Friday night, at $55 per person with a souvenir T-shirt or $35 without a shirt. Participants can register later or at the event site for a higher fee of $75 with a tee or $50 without.
Donations to Napa Humane in connection with the event will be accepted through Aug. 31 online at napahumane.org, or by email or in-person drop-off at Napa Humane, 3265 California Blvd., Napa, CA 94558.
Proceeds from the Walk for Animals fund the spaying and neutering of pets, of which Napa Humane performs about 5,000 a year to reduce the number of homeless kittens and puppies in the community, Piscia said. Other programs funded by Napa Humane include vaccinations, implanting of tracking microchips in pets, and animal welfare education.
For Walk for Animals registration and other information, visit Napa Humane at napahumane.org.
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