Evanston residents ‘strut’ for stray dogs

Sammy Caiola

Evanston dogs and their owners braved the rain Saturday to walk three miles for Strut for Strays, a fundraising event organized by Community Animal Rescue Effort, the city’s only pet adoption agency.

Supporters of C.A.R.E completed the walk through Ladd Arboretum on Saturday morning, raising $17,000 in total. People were allowed to walk without raising any money, but those who did raise funds received goodie bags and T-shirts.

About 180 attended this year, said C.A.R.E. President Linda Gelb, a turnout on par with previous years, despite Saturday’s rain.

C.A.R.E, 2310 Oakton St., is a nonprofit that works with the Evanston animal shelter to provide services including medicating, vaccinating and finding homes for abandoned animals. The city owns the animal shelter, and C.A.R.E. works on spaying and neutering the animals, testing them for disease and putting them up for adoption, Gelb said.

Though C.A.R.E doen’t pay rent for its space, Gelb said the organization spends about $150 for each animal that comes through and only charges a $100 registration fee. The organization is completely volunteer-based and is open six days a week.

“Evanston needs to have the shelter because of the abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats,” Gelb said. “They have to go somewhere. They need C.A.R.E. because we do the work that needs to be done in order to get them adopted out.”

This was the 17th annual walk in C.A.R.E’s 25-year history. Mary Summerville, a real estate broker with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty in Evanston, has been sponsoring the event from the beginning. She underwrites the T-shirt cost in order to have her logo printed on the back.

“I love animals,” she said. “When I was looking for a place to spend marketing dollars, I thought, ‘Why not combine it with something I love?’ (C.A.R.E) is great. They do phenomenal work.”

Skokie resident Maria Delh adopted a cat from C.A.R.E and attended Strut for Strays for the second year in a row. She said C.A.R.E is affordable and easy to work with, and that there are not many resources for strays in the northern suburbs.

“They’re doing a good job for all the animals, so we try to support them,” Delh said. “We do have a dog, but she refused to come because it was raining. But it’s a nice walk, and it’s good to get together with all the dog lovers.”

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