Doggy Dash, at a Distance

Photo courtesy of Sacramento SPCA

Sacramento SPCA’s yearly fundraiser takes things online for the second year

Registration has just opened for the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ yearly Doggy Dash, scheduled for June 5. While past years have seen William Land Park packed with dogs and “their people,” COVID-19 has shifted both the timing and method of SSPCA’s largest fundraiser of the year.

Jessica Behrens, SSPCA’s special events coordinator, acknowledges the challenges of the down-to-the-wire changes that last year’s Coronavirus shifts entailed. “It was a learning curve and we’re extremely happy with the way that everything turned out, how we were able to pivot so quickly.”

While the Doggy Dash has normally been held in April, both this year’s event and last have been switched to June—each time in the hope that larger gatherings would have been possible. SSPCA has taken lessons learned with last year’s inaugural virtual Doggy Dash and applied them to this year.

“It’s hard to do a virtual event and do everything,” Behrenns says, “The day-of tasks, like go visit the virtual vendors, go part do the walk in the morning… go visit the kids zone, and go watch the dog contest, you know, throughout the day it was a lot to ask all in one day.”

As a result, SSPCA is spreading those fun extras throughout the month of May, nearly entirely via social media.

“We’ll have different fun activities that you can participate through the Facebook page and we’ll have fun different contests and vendors…leading up to it, and then the day of on June 5,” Behrens says.

As for the Dash itself? It’s still on, and last year’s encouraging numbers make SSPCA optimistic that they can reach their $150,000 goal.

While Dashers can sign up as individuals or as teams until the June 5 event, there are perks to signing up early: the first 500 Dashers get an “I would dash with you anywhere” bandana for their pet, and the sooner one registers, the sooner fundraising efforts begin.

Teams of four get their own T-shirts, and each individual fundraiser is eligible for prizes based on the amount raised for the shelter, from face masks up to recognition plaques for donors who hit the $5,000 mark.

Then, on June 5, celebrate the Dash by walking—safely, distanced and masked—in your own neighborhood, sharing on social media by using the hashtag #SSPCADASH2021 on Facebook and Instagram.

It’s not the same as a park full of barking cuties, but Behrens promises fun: “It’ll be really easy for teams and individuals who are ready to post their photos, and you can see where other doggie dashers are walking, whether it’s in our house their backyard, or the treadmill, going on the trail, going to a park your neighborhood,” she says. “So that’s the exciting part.”

Find more information on their Facebook Page or at

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