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Dog-friendly fundraiser nets $3K for shelter

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POLSON — The track at Linderman Elementary School went to the dogs Saturday morning, but these canines were quite well-behaved … mostly. 

The Mission Valley Animal Shelter’s annual Doggy Dash, a fundraiser where dog owners can collect pledges for walking laps with their pets to support the shelter, kicked off bright and early on a crisp, sunny late-summer morning perfect for a stroll with the dogs. A couple dozen locals came out with their canine companions, ranging from a tiny Yorkie to a Great Dane, to support the no-kill shelter’s efforts to care for and find homes for neglected animals in the Mission Valley. 

“We appreciate everything everyone’s done,” shelter board member Jackie Smart said. “It’s nice because it’s about community participation.”

Smart started Doggy Dash around a decade ago; in fact, it’s been so long and become such a tradition that it’s hard for her to recall when the first event was held. She donated all the prizes for this year’s contests, including treats for all the dogs and MVAS canvas tote bags and bandannas. 

Smart and husband Alan Fryslie, MVAS president, said the shelter’s biggest needs are cat litter and puppy and kitten food, as well as basics like paper towels, toilet paper, Clorox and laundry detergent.

“And volunteers. Volunteers are huge,” Smart said.

The total of donations and pledges for this year came to $3,165. It’s one of the shelter’s biggest fundraisers, she noted. 

Along with pet photography by Pat Salmon and breakfast from the “ByteMe” food truck, discounted micro-chipping was another new feature at Doggy Dash 2012. For $20, shelter operations manger Brenda Jones would inject a tiny computer chip, bearing information like the animal’s owner’s phone number and veterinarian’s address, under a dog’s skin in a quick and nearly painless procedure that merely took a jab with a needle. Seven more Polson-area dogs now have a permanent ID implanted in their skin, which could save their lives one day, shelter board member Pam Gibson emphasized.

She knows firsthand how valuable that $20 procedure can be. 

Two Christmases ago, Gibson left for vacation and boarded her black lab Bailey at a kennel where she’d be safe until Gibson returned from her trip — or so she thought. Bailey backed out of a loose collar and escaped, leaving Gibson to wonder if the dog had met her end or was still fighting for survival on the streets somewhere.

After two months of wondering, Gibson got her answer.

Bailey was in “jail.” Animal control had been called out to a residence in the Turtle Lake area outside of Polson to catch a dog who’d been freeloading off Pat Matt’s dogs’ food. As it turned out, Bailey had survived off free food for six weeks before Matt got fed up and called animal control. When Bailey was scanned for a microchip per procedure, it turned out she had an owner who was still hoping she’d find her way home. Thanks to a microchip, she did.

“So I am a huge proponent of micro-chipping,” Gibson said.

Smart said she’s always looking for new ways to throw a bigger and better Doggy Dash next year, and she’s already got some ideas.


Doggy Dash 2012 winners


Most funds raised

1, Karen Woodger

2, Betty Zimmerman


Best kisser: Holly, owned by Royce and Dawn Bird

Shortest tail: Izzy, owned by Brandi Brenden

Best trick: Zoe, owned by Heather Knutson

Oldest: Zoe, owned by Heather Knutson

Worst behaved: Mercedes, owned by Sharon Hawke

Cutest face: Bella, owned by Sheena Madsen

Best dressed: Betty Zimmerman and Augie

Best fetchers: Penny, owned by Shannon Harris; and Kate, owned by Karen Woodger


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