YORKTOWN, N.Y. – It was a dog day morning and afternoon Saturday at Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown as hundreds of pooches of all shapes and sizes, dragging their owners along, took center stage at the SPCA Walkathon and Pet Fair.
"We do the walk every year. It's such a positive experience, and all the dogs get to socialize," said Chantelle Grant of Cortlandt, who was accompanied by her 16-month-old chocolate English Lab, Zoey.
The walk is the SPCA of Westchester County's largest fundraising event of the year. With more than 50 sponsors and vendors, Lisa Bonanno, marketing director for the SPCA, said the organization was hoping to raise $100,000.
The funds are used for the shelter the SPCA runs in Briarcliff Manor for abandoned, neglected and stray dogs and cats. The shelter is currently filled to capacity with 70 dogs and 100 cats. Several dogs were available for adoption at the walkathon.
"We're the only shelter in Westchester that has the ability to enforce animal cruelty laws," Bonanno said, noting that the SPCA of Westchester operates with 25 full- and part-time employees and about 300 volunteers. "If we didn't have our volunteers, we couldn't do anything. They make everything possible."
Two women who have been providing rescue services for dogs, horses, goats and other animals, Lori Dronzek and Christina McGuire, had their hands full at the walk with several dogs, including Ernie, whom Dronzek saved after he was abandoned during October's snowstorm.
"Since I was little I have been rescuing animals," said McGuire, who mentioned she had a 40-year-old horse at home.
Lending support to the SPCA was actor and comedian Robert Klein, a resident of Briarcliff Manor, who said he wasn't able to have a dog growing up in the Bronx.
"It was a dream of mine all my life. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I got a German shepherd that was rescued from North Carolina," he said. "There are some beauties here today. A love of animals is universal."
Dean Bender and his wife were proud to show off their dog, Dexter, whom they adopted from the SPCA two years ago after their longtime pet, a poodle, died. Dexter was formerly in a no-kill shelter in North Carolina.
"He's a great dog. A lot of fun," Bender said.