By Brenda L. Holmes
Thousands of K-9s and their human companions converged on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2013 Mutt Strut.
“What a crowd,” said John Aleshire, CEO of the Humane Society of Indianapolis. “This is probably the biggest crowd we’ve had at this event.”
Mutt Strut serves as a fundraiser for the Humane Society. This year’s presenting sponsor was Harrison College. Aleshire introduced the president of the college, Jason Konesco.
“Harrison College is very excited to be the presenting sponsor this year,” Konesco said. “When we added our vet tech program in 2007 we forged a great partnership with the Humane Society of Indianapolis.”
He said the Human Society has a rich history in Indianapolis and Harrison College’s students have benefitted from the partnership.
“We have over 100 vet tech students around the track today to help our K-9 friends,” Konesco said. “We also have 15 nursing students here to help with the human side of the event. Keep an eye out for those who may need help today.”
The event included a large number of booths purchased by area businesses and organizations who wanted to share information withpet owners.
Dr. Sandy Norman spent time at the Indiana’s Family of Farmers (IFOF) information booth.
“This is a great event to connect with pet owners,” Norman said. “We support the mission of the Humane Society of Indianapolis.”
The IFOF is among the nation’s top producers of grains, produce, and meats. The organization’s leadership believes that quality farming means quality food that’s good for consumers and the environment.
Thomas Dock, practice manager for Noah’s Animal Hospitals, was also on hand to talk to pet owners.
“We have five facilities in Central Indiana,” Dock said. “We’ll be opening a sixth in May. They’re at points around the city.”
“We get to see so many animals today. We’ve even seen a few fat bulldogs that we’ve encouraged their owners to get them on a diet. We’re just here to help people with their pets.”
They also partner with some organizations to help lost or injured animals.
“We scan them to see if they’re chipped and do our best to get them better and get home,” Dock said. “We also help rescue and adopt injured animals.”
The folks representing Barkefellers: The Place for Dogs were excited to talk about the company’s second location opening up on the westside of the city on Rockville Road. Operations Manager Jordan Coffey said the facility is almost ready to open and the staff is planning a grand opening event on June 2.
“We can board, train, and groom animals,” Coffey said. “We like to think of it as a one-stop shop.”
Pet owners can also put their animals in day care or extended boarding.
“We even have a suite that’s 500 square feet,” he said. “That’s a lot of room for a dog.”
He said some of the boarding rooms offer a web cam for pet owners.
The original Barkefellers is on the southside of Indianapolis on Madison Avenue near Greenwood.
“They can log on and see their animals,” Coffey said. “Last summer, we were full at 180 to 200 animals a day. We also had about 80 day care animals.”
This full capacity spurred the company to build a new facility in this area of the city.
Coffey said attending Mutt Strut has helped get the word out.