Blessed with sunny skies and scores of people, the first annual Strut Your Mutt fundraising event to benefit the Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad was a huge success, according to Mindy Felinton, their development director. Over 250 dogs registered to compete for best kisser, best howler, best look-alike with owner, and other contests. Posh Pooch of Bethesda staged a fashion show and there was a canine make over, along with many other doggy diversions. A demonstration of skills by the members and dogs of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), one of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue’s specialty teams, captivated the crowd.
The event, organized by the Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary Foundation, drew more than 2000 people to the Westwood Avenue corridor. Restaurants and stores were filled with visitors while on the street vendor booths offered information about various dog-related interests such as Veterinary Holistic Care (VHC) and Metropolitan Emergency Animal Clinic.
Down on an oriental rug, VHC’s Dr. Tracey Mock applied acupuncture needles to a beagle happy to oblige as Robin Gaugh, a Reiki practitioner, worked with his energy field. At the booth handing out the kind of refrigerator magnet worth its space on the door, Rockville’s Metropolitan Emergency Animal Clinic showed visitors what it offered to pets and owners in a dire situation.
Not forgetting the country’s worst emergency, the booth at the Potomac rescue organization PetConnect had its last Katrina rescue pooches, still being cared for by them, out strolling the street with "Adopt Me" bandanas. Walking obediently alongside their handlers, these dogs looked up at passersby, hoping to catch their eye. To inquire about adopting a dog call: 301-299-3798.
Fundraising for the BCC Rescue Squad drew admiring participants bidding on doghouses fine enough for the master as well as the dog. The auction brought in $4500. Some houses went for over $1000. "For a first event, this was a fun day for people with both two legged and four legged kids," said Felinton. "Everyone wants to come next year."