By Katie Murdoch Enterprise editor
MILL CREEK — An organization geared toward fighting canine cancer and another that provides funding to train dogs and horses for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are the beneficiaries of a community fundraiser slated for next spring or early summer.
Bill McElroy, Mill Creek Rotary Club president, and Janet Berwick, owner of the pet supply store Paddywack, are leading efforts to organize the first Dog Walk at Willis Tucker Park, 6705 Puget Park Drive, Snohomish.
“This (walk) will attract people wanting to save the K-9 unit or for someone whose pet died from cancer,” McElroy said.
“It’ll be a walk in the park,” said Rotary member Bob Collard, who handles public relations for the organization. “It will benefit the greater Snohomish County and not just Mill Creek.”
An organizational meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 27 at Mill Creek City Hall, 15728 Main St. Community members interested in volunteering for the event are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact McElroy at 425 483-2169 or email@example.com.
“We are looking to engage a group of motivated volunteers to assist in making this event successful,” Berwick said. “Our goal is to establish a ‘template’ to create an annual event focused on fundraising as well as offering a fun-filled day for the community and their dogs.”
“It’s important to get the community active raising money and doing volunteer work for a great cause,” McElroy said.
Organizers are thinking of hosting a four-hour walk with teams, event T-shirts, a pet costume contest and gifts for donors.
McElroy said the idea was inspired by a Humane Society fundraiser in Oregon that raised roughly $238,000 by hosting a walk for dogs and their owners.
“Eight or nine of our members went to it and said, ‘We need to do this,’” he said.
For their agency, Rotary members selected Everett-based Pennies for Puppies and Ponies. Sheriff John Lovick and Sheriff Emeritus Robert Bart are board members.
The nonprofit helps the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office pay for police and service dogs and police horses. Contributions cover the cost for new dogs, food, equipment and veterinary bills.
Lovick said the Sheriff’s Office isn’t considering cutting the K-9 unit; however, fundraisers have helped with associated costs like food and veterinary bills.
“It’s very much appreciated,” he said.
Lovick said the value of police and service canines is known around the world. Canines have a few advantages over officers — they can fit into smaller spaces, and sniff out drugs and suspects.
“We want to be the finest Sheriff’s Office in the state and this will help us better serve the public,” Lovick said. “Bottom line, I’m just elated.”
Paddywack’s Berwick has her sights set on Chase Away Cancer, a campaign by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Foundation. The Colorado-based Chase Away Cancer was created in 2000 to support specialists in the ACVIM who treat small and large animals and research diseases like cancer that can afflict animals.
“Having lost a dog to cancer myself and knowing so many friends and customers that have experienced the same, I was sold on the mission of the organization and have been a strong supporter ever since,” she said.