Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic saw the suspension of a number of beloved events in Kingston and the area, but perhaps none so well-loved by the four-legged local residents as that which supports their fellow furry friends.
But with restrictions loosened, enthusiastic supporters in the wings, and the need perhaps more dire than ever before, the flagship fundraising event for the Kingston Humane Society is back as Big Paws returns to City Park!
On Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, Big Paws will take place in and around downtown Kingston, bringing together pledge-collecting participants and a menagerie of pets for a guided walk through the historic downtown core. Traditionally the largest annual community event for the Kingston Humane Society, Big Paws is a big deal in more ways than one – while the event raises much-needed funds for the local animal shelter, it also raises awareness of the many (and necessary) services that the Kingston Humane Society provides.
What’s more is some of the wonderful additional perks of Big Paws – perks for pets and people alike! This year, Big Paws – now in its 24th year – will include a vendor market featuring over 30 local businesses, interactive activities, a silent auction, and the opportunity to win prizes.
“Big Paws in City Park is a critical fundraiser for us – not just because of the money we raise but because it’s a chance to reconnect with our ‘alumni’ and their adopters,” said Gord Hunter, Executive Director of the Kingston Humane Society.
“Often at the KHS we see dogs and cats at their worst. Abandoned or abused animals don’t show us their true personality. They haven’t learned to trust yet. We get them back on the road to health and happiness, but we don’t usually have a chance to see them blossom into the pets we know they can be. I can’t count the number of times our staff sees one of our former dogs at Big Paws and is overcome with emotion seeing them transformed into these amazing family companions,” Hunter continued.
“When it feels like the world is falling down around you, real-life examples of our best stories become essential to our wellbeing; they keep us going.”
The fundraising portion of Big Paws works with the traditional pledge-collecting method: Participants are asked to collect pledges in advance of the event, either in online (see below) or by cheque and/or cash. Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of $25 in pledges.
“Walkers can start a pledge page online, or print the pledge form from our website and present it with the pledge money at the registration table on the day of the event,” the Humane Society said in a press release on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.
According to the Humane Society, all funds raised at Big Paws will go directly towards allowing the organization to continue to offer its services while benefiting the community through:
- Life-saving surgeries for animals in need
- Pet ownership education
- Addressing the needs of lost, neglected, abandoned, and/or abused pets
“Recently, we’ve had a few big repairs including a significant roof leak after a big storm and we also had to replace one of our two air conditioning/heating units. Repairs like that are costly and that makes fundraisers like Big Paws in City Park even more important,” Hunter shared.
On the day, registration for Big Paws opens at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, with the walk itself kicking off at 11 a.m. Participants are encouraged to bring their dogs to join in the fun, but those who are pet-free are also encouraged to attend, the Humane Society expressed.
“We are overjoyed to be back in City Park and we’re grateful for all the support we’ve received so far,” the Kingston Humane Society relayed.
“Watch our website and our social media for more updates on Big Paws in City Park and to see which vendors, prizes, and other fun surprises will be there!” For more information on the Humane Society or the Big Paws fundraiser, visit the Kingston Humane Society website.