Ottawa Police Chief Vern White joined a four-legged friend Indy and her owner, Ottawa Humane Society Insp. Tim Brown, to open registration for the Society’s 21st annual Wiggle Waggle Walkathon.

“I invite everybody to come out for the walk,” said Chief White, the Walkathon’s honorary chair- man. “I understand we’ve ordered sun so it could be the first sunny day of the summer, and hopefully we’ll have a great crowd and break last year’s record.”

Indy worked the crowd at the St. Laurent Shopping Centre, accepting scratches behind the ears and sniffing a few crotches. The shopping centre is offering gift cards to Walkathon participants who manage to raise $500 or more in pledges.

Humane Society communications manager Tara Jackson said the Walkathon is “a fun day out for our supporters and friends of the Humane Society,” as well as the organization’s leading fundraiser for programs ranging from animal rescue to the Brightening Lives program, which arranges animal visits to long-term care facilities and hospitals.

It’s also the largest event of its kind in Eastern Ontario. Last year, over 1,000 walkers, with and without dogs, raised $150,000. This year’s fundraising goal is $165,000.

The Walkathon comes at a critical time of year, Jackson said: “Summer is typically our busiest season. We’re really full at the shelter right now with lots cats, and we have a high number of dogs for this time of year as well.”

The shoes and paws will hit the ground for the Walkathon Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Arboretum of the Experimental Farm at 10 a.m.

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