When Laurie Hoffman decided to foster Gracie, a 3-year-old mixed toy greyhound who was found running in the streets and getting caught in the grates of a bridge in downtown Miami, she didn’t expect to keep her.
But she couldn’t help it.
“Many of us have gotten to a point in our lives where we want to give back. We want to be able to help others who can’t help themselves,” said Hoffman, associate executive director at the Humane Society of Greater Miami. “We chose the animals because that’s our passion.”
And it’s this same passion that she hopes many people will feel on Saturday, when this year, for the first time, Walk for the Animals, a yearly event held by the Humane Society of Greater Miami, is launching an “adoption arena.” There, attendees can adopt pets from the Humane Society, an animal shelter, and local animal rescue groups.
“Every step counts!” is the slogan for the walk that will take place on Feb. 23. Registration will open at 8:30 a.m., and the event runs through noon at Bayfront Park, 301 N. Biscayne Blvd.
There will be music, games, prizes, product samples and food after 9 a.m. The one-mile walk around the park will begin at 10 a.m.
The minimum donation for an individual walker is $50, and it includes a Walk T-shirt, a goodie bag and a dog bandana.
Attendees are encouraged to form packs or teams with their family and friends.
Eleven rescue groups are confirmed to attend, but Danijela Kandera, 35, manager of marketing and corporate development at the Humane Society, expects more to join.
“We are already hoping to fundraise enough with the Walk,” said Kandera. “But we are also here to help other organizations because we are all working together for the same goal, which is helping the animals.”
The goal is to reach $50,000 and find new homes for the pets.
“In order for us to care for the 300 animals that are here every day and to provide the programs or services that we do, we need to raise money,” said Hoffman.
Each group will take about five to 10 pets, and all animals set for adoption are spayed, neutered and microchipped.
Requirements for adoption vary per group.
Kandera recommends that interested adopters bring a valid ID and a checkbook.
Tents will be set in the arena for each rescue group. All costs are sponsored by Pet Supermarket.
“Our No. 1 priority is animals, whether it is the ones that we sell, the ones that come into our store or the ones we have for adoption,” said Steve Renzelmann, 49, regional manager of Pet Supermarket.