Tempe Beach Park is going to the dogs — for a few hours anyway. On Saturday, about 600 canines are expected at the park for the fifth annual Walk ’n Roll Dog Walk.
The 5K around Tempe Town Lake is open to dogs and their owners from across the Valley.
“We see everything from little toy poodles up to mastiffs. The komondor was probably the oddest dog we’ve ever had. Oh, and one cat,” says Cindy Abels, director of Power Paws Assistance Dogs Inc., a nonprofit group based in Scottsdale that provides working companion dogs to people with disabilities.
Proceeds from Saturday’s dog walk go to the group.
More than a walk, the event features demonstrations by dogs trained to catch discs and balls and dogs who do lure coursing, or chasing a lure around a set course. There are also vendor booths, lunch by Outback Steakhouse and opportunities for pet photos and art projects.
Registration fees range from $25 to $100, and you can sign up online or in person the day of the event.
Each person registered for the walk is entered in a drawing for US Airways travel vouchers and receives a T-shirt, goody bag and other perks. There is also a silent auction featuring trips to SeaWorld and Disneyland, tickets to the Dr. Phil and The Doctors shows, a motor home rental and other prizes.
“This is our largest fundraiser of the year. We count on it to operate throughout the year,” says Abels. “We place about 10 dogs a year, and each one costs $20,000 to raise and train.”
The group places specially trained 2-year-old Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and goldendoodles, a mix between a golden retriever and a poodle, with adults and children with disabilities.