DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — Shannon Heep wants to take her dog for a walk March 1, and she’s hoping you and all your friends will join her.
The second annual Marble Falls Walk-A-Dog-A-Thon gives you a great reason to grab your four-legged pal and head for Johnson Park, 230 Ave. J South, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can start the walk at any time, though the official start is 11 a.m. Organizers have a 2½-mile route laid out that will take you from Johnson Park through downtown Marble Falls and back. But Heep said there are a few shortcuts for those who don’t want to go the full distance.
Or, you can just hang out at Johnson Park for Party in the Park, an event featuring dog-friendly vendors and organizations.
The Walk-A-Dog-A-Thon came from Heep, who wanted to bring other dog lovers together. Through her business We Are Marble Falls (www.wearemarblefalls.com) and in conjunction with the Highland Lakes Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, she held the first walk last year.
“Last year, we were amazed by the turnout,” Heep said. “We had more than 150 participants. And that was just the registered walkers, that didn’t include the family members or friends who joined the walkers.”
The event raised more than $11,000, with all of it benefitting the Highland Lakes SPCA, a no-kill sanctuary that helps dogs in need find homes.
This year, Heep hopes the response is even bigger.
“When I started this, I just knew the community wanted to do something to help dogs that need homes. They just needed to be given the opportunity,” she said. “That’s how this came about.”
This year, the Walk-A-Dog-A-Thon is expanding.
Heep and her cadre of volunteers added Party in the Park, and she has reached out to businesses that specialize in pets to see if they want to participate.
“We can definitely handle more vendors,” she said.
The event includes a softball tournament. Heep is encouraging people to put together a team — whether for the softball tournament, the walk or both — and join the fun.
The event ties in with the City of Marble Falls’ official ribbon cutting and grand opening of the Backbone Creek Hike and Bike Trail, which occurs at noon. Even though the dog walk doesn’t follow this particular trail, people can explore it as well.
“We just wanted to create a fun event that brings the community together,” Heep said. “And everything we raise goes to the dogs.”
Registration is $20 per person and $15 for children. Go to www.wearemarblefalls.com to register or for more information. Or call Heep at (830) 385-9289 if you have questions, are interested in sponsoring the event or want to put a booth up during the walk.