After a two-year hiatus, an annual celebration of the bonds between local pets and their human friends returned to Napa on Sunday.
Hundreds of people, most of them accompanied by their dogs, took to downtown streets for Napa Humane’s 11th annual Walk for Animals, the latest local gathering to emerge from long curbs on mass events. The 1.4-mile stroll through the city center and along the Napa River from the Oxbow Commons — a major fundraiser for Napa Humane’s animal welfare efforts for more than a decade — had been replaced in 2020 and 2021 by online events due to state and county crowd -size restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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About 350 people — many joined by their canine companions, sometimes clad in playful costumes — took part in Sunday morning’s stroll, according to Napa Humane’s executive director Wendi Piscia.
Under a cloudy sky that gave way unusually early to morning sun, dogs and owners set off from the Commons on a leisurely route over the First Street bridge, then down the Harry T. Price Riverwalk and finally back into the Oxbow.
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Following the procession was a pet-themed festival at the Commons with animal contests, a photo booth and dog-training demonstrations. Also featured at the gathering were pets being offered for adoption by the Napa County Animal Shelter and Ripple Effect Animal Project, the humane society’s partners in the event.
Napa Humane is aiming to raise $80,000 from this year’s Walk for Animals, compared to the $100,000 it garnered for its previous in-person festival in August 2019.
Proceeds from the Walk for Animals will fund the spaying and neutering of pets, of which Napa Humane performs about 5,000 procedures a year to help reduce the number of homeless kittens and puppies in the community. Other programs funded by Napa Humane include vaccinations, implanting of tracking microchips in pets, and animal welfare education.
Donations to Napa Humane in connection with the Walk for Animals will continue to be accepted through Aug. 31 online at napahumane.org, or by email or in-person drop-off at Napa Humane, 3265 California Blvd., Napa, CA 94558.
For more information, visit Napa Humane at napahumane.org.