Photo by Timothy Perry on Unsplash

Join the 2022 Step Up for Shelters Challenge

Celebrity Paws in the Park marks the return for Charleston Animal Society of large-scale public festivals after a two-year hiatus. It has been really important to incorporate our mission, the prevention of cruelty to animals, in as many elements as possible. 

Teaching kids to be kind is a core element to our programs. We invited De Daltorio, Chief Education Officer for Charleston Animal Society, to the table to figure out interesting ways to involve and engage kids, not only in fundraising, but in lessons that promote the health and well-being of animals.

Through an innovative partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., the maker of NexGard® (afoxolaner) and Heartgard® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel), we have been able to access GPS-based tracking technology through app developer WoofTrax and create a fun way to involve kids in Celebrity Paws in the Park simply by walking the family dog. For those families who don’t have a dog, the program even allows kids to select a shelter pet as their walking partner!

Great way to involve kids

Science has taught us that walking as little as 15 minutes per day can benefit humans and pets. Not only is it a way to work off any extra pandemic pounds, but walking also reduces stress and boosts your mood. With the “2022 Step Up for Shelters Challenge,” we can turn your family walks into cash that benefit homeless animals at Charleston Animal Society. 

The effort is simple. Download the WoofTrax app on your mobile device. Once enrolled, go to the Challenges tab and join the “2022 Step Up for Shelters Challenge.” Each time you walk, start and stop your walk within the app and Boehringer Ingelheim will donate to Charleston Animal Society, up to $10,000.

You can create a “pack” of friends to challenge each other and raise even more funds, or you can walk as a lone wolf. When you visit paws.charlestonanimalsociety.org and click on the “Step Up for Shelters” tab, you’ll find all of the instructions along with a selection of shelter pets that you can select as your walking buddy — in case you do not have a pet at home. 

Each level you achieve earns a $5 donation to Charleston Animal Society. A donation of $5 will feed a homeless puppy. When you earn a $10 donation, you are helping to feed a litter of kittens. A gift of $15 provides a bed or comfy blanket to a homeless animal. 

Fun videos available, too

Working with Travis Borsen, the Animal Planet star, celebrity dog trainer and winner of the hit reality show Greatest American Dog, we created fun-filled educational video segments that show the correct way for kids and dogs to walk or run together. The video series, which you can see on the Step Up for Shelter web page, shows kids how to be safe and have fun walking with dogs. They help everyone prepare by having the proper equipment and safety protocols.  

“When Charleston Animal Society asked me to be a part of Celebrity Paws in the Park, I could not resist,” said Brorsen. He built his career on sharing what he has learned about creating a positive learning environment for dogs and building relationships between them and their families based on friendship, kindness and compassion. 

You can also see his stage show, Travis & Friends, throughout the day at Celebrity Paws in the Park on March 19 at Riverfront Park in North Charleston. Enjoy!

Sean Hawkins, CAWA, CFRE, is the Chief Advancement Officer for Charleston
Animal Society.