The Third Annual Kids Lend A Paw (KLAP) dog walk was held under clear skies Saturday, November 16, at Fairfield Hills.
Reed intermediate School sixth grader Maddie Stites started the walk three years ago to raise money for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
The organization is near and dear to Maddie since the ASPCA rescued her family’s three dogs — Merry, Sunny, and Chloe.
“Merry was rescued from very harsh conditions,” said Maddie, who also explained her dog Sunny, who has half a tail, came from a kill shelter in Georgia.
Maddie’s appreciation for the ASPCA inspired her to create the walks, which gives 100 percent of its proceeds to the animal organization. Over the past two years she was able to raise $2,000 through bake sales and the donations from her past dog walks.
For this year’s walk, Maddie set the goal to raise $1,000. According to Maddie following the event, this year’s walk raised $973.
Maddie’s mother Jennifer Stites explained that many people donated to her daughter’s cause even before the day’s event. Maddie was able to raise $300 from selling wristbands alone.
Reflecting on how generous everyone has been Ms Stites said, “The people in the community are such great people.”
Those who showed up for the walk were asked to give $5 or make a donation of dog supplies to participate. Attendees could then choose from customized KLAP bracelets, stress balls, stickers, and bag clips.
Along with the dog walk around Fairfield Hills, the day’s events also included dog contests, prizes, and raffle baskets donated from the all-natural pet food company Blue Buffalo.
The contest categories included biggest dog, smallest dog, longest sitter, and best smile — the latter was judged by the crowd’s applause.
First place winner for biggest dog went to Shamus, a 150-pound Newfoundland, while the winner of smallest dog went to Jake, who weighed in at 6½ pounds.
All the dogs who ranked top three in their categories received a prize of Blue Buffalo treats, as well as a round of applause from the crowd.
Following the canine contests, Maddie raffled off three baskets of Blue Buffalo products. The company generously donated a variety of their products, including a basket filled with specifically adult dog goods, a basket designated toward puppies, and a mixed product basket.
At the end of the raffle Maddie addressed the crowd with a huge smile on her face, “Thank you for all of your donations; it all goes to the ASPCA of Connecticut.”
For additional information or to donate to KLAP or purchase wristbands for $1, visit www.kidslendapaw.webs.com.