SPEEDWAY — For one day this Saturday, what’s racing around the track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be fueled by Kibbles ‘n Bits rather than gasoline.
The Mutt Strut is back, celebrating a decade of success that allows patrons with or without dogs to come to the track and walk a lap around it with thousands of their furry friends.
The gates to IMS will open at 9:30 a.m. April 27 and opening ceremonies will begin at 10:45 a.m. The track will then be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for walkers on two or four legs.
In addition to it being a well attended event, typically drawing between 6,000 and 10,000 people, it also is the bell cow fundraiser for the Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI). John Aleshire, chief executive officer of the HSI, said that it often draws in around $400,000 in much-needed funding.
“This is our most important and signature special event of the year.” he said. “It’s a party, and a great way to celebrate with your pets. But you don’t have to have a dog. You can come for the fitness aspect of it. It’s very family-friendly, and you get to walk around the most famous real estate in our city, if not the entire racing world.”
Each year the organization cares for more than 6,000 animals bereft of any attachment to a national group. They are independent and Mutt Strut fundraising is vital to the organization as they receive no public, private, or government funding. On top of that, Aleshire said that pets needing homes is not an issue that’s going away anytime soon.
“Funding is truly a challenge,” he explained. “Indianapolis has a pet overpopulation problem. There are certain areas of the city where there are lots and lots of animals needing homes.