BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Waterfront went to the dogs Saturday morning for the Bangor Humane Society’s annual fundraiser.
Tall dogs, short dogs, skinny dogs, wide dogs, fluffy dogs, smooth dogs, rain-coated dogs and naked dogs participated in Paws on Parade. After their jaunt around downtown the dogs all had one thing in common — they were wet. Nearly every tail, however, was wagging.
More than 300 pet owners attended the event, according to Suzan Bell, executive director of the Bangor Humane Society. The event raised $55,500, about $15,000 more than last year, she said.
“This is our biggest year in 18 years despite the rain,” she said.
The money raised is essential, but it is only about 7 percent of the shelter’s $800,000 annual budget, Bell said. Over the past two years, the number of pets at the shelter has increased by 20 percent because of the recession.
“We have more animals in need of extended stays due to veterinary needs or behavioral issues,” she said of the challenges facing the Bangor Humane Society. “ We also have more animals who have had little or no training. We must use resources to train them before they can be adopted.”
In addition to staff from the shelter on Mount Hope Avenue, about 40 volunteers helped set up for the event and register participants. Some brought their dogs.
Jessica Correale, 15, of Bangor and other members of the Bangor High School field hockey junior varsity and varsity teams helped out at the fundraiser. Her dog Buffy, a 5-year-old Chinese crested powderpuff, stayed dry under Correale’s team windbreaker, resting up for a run on the obstacle course.
“She’d rather be inside a dry house,” the teenager said of the smaller of her two dogs. “We also have a 2-year-old Australian shepherd named Pumpkin. I didn’t bring her because [she still has] ‘puppy brain.’ I wasn’t sure she’d have stayed with me with all these other dogs around.”
The rain didn’t seem to faze Harvey, a 16-month-old Great Dane. He stood by Dawnette Carver at a booth to raise money for and awareness about the Bangor Dog Park.
“Harvey comes to all our fundraisers,” Carver said “We’re raising money to fence a section of city-owned land at the end of Dutton Street between the Fireside Inn and Geaghan’s Pub and Hollywood Slots. We want to have benches and water there.”
The group, appropriately named Bark, on Oct. 15 will participate in an event at the Bangor Mall. There was no word Saturday on whether Harvey would be attending since the mall bans most dogs.
For more information on the Bangor Dog Park, call Bangor Parks and Recreation at 992-4490 or visit www.BangorDogPark.org. For more information about the Bangor Humane Society, call 942-8902 visit www.bangorhumane.org.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated that Paws on Parade raised $1,500 more than last year. It actually raised $15,000 more than last year.