Stephanie Whitney has participated in Strutt With Your Mutt for ten years. Stephanie is very passionate about the welfare of furry friends. She began her volunteer efforts in 1999 when a friend began rescuing homeless pets. In 2005, Stephanie began noticing unwanted and abandoned pets on the side of the road close to where she was living at the time. This is when she discovered Wayside Waifs.
With the help of Independence Animal Hospital, Stephanie would get the pets healthy and spayed/neutered if not already. If she was unable to find a loving home for the animal, it was then she would bring them to Wayside Waifs and contribute to their welfare by utilizing Wayside Waifs' surrender process in order to keep them safe while they found their new forever homes. It was during this time that she discovered the Strutt with your Mutt event and fell in love.
Stephanie began walking with her Beagle-Mix, Leo, at Strutt and this became a tradition for the two of them. She lost Leo in July of 2015 and continued to walk with a picture of him pinned to her shirt while bringing friends and their dogs so they could discover the strength, good will and success of the event and cause - they continue to join her each year and stand behind her fund raising efforts. She starts her fundraising early, stays in close contact with her asks, and reaches out to new people every year. She also puts an ad in her community monthly newsletter and reaches out to her colleagues. In 2017, Stephanie raised over $1,000 for Strutt With Your Mutt - making her one of our Top Individual Fundraisers. Stephanie and her family recently adopted Sasha, a Golden Retriever, who will strutt with her this fall! See photo of Stephanie and Sasha.
The Fast & the Furriest has officially made Wayside history. This Strutt With Your Mutt team, comprised of three middle school students from The Barstow School, has officially earned the title of top fundraising team three years in a row and raised nearly $37,000 in the process! Grant, Jia and Madi wanted to get involved, and as Jia's mom put it, "Jia loves volunteering with Wayside because she feels welcome there. Her efforts are always appreciated and she is treated like a valuable team member even though she is not an adult. It is also easy for her to see first-hand how her fundraising helps the Waifs." Grant also earned the title of top individual fundraiser for the past three years! He said of the experience,"I enjoy raising money for Wayside because I can see that is makes a direct impact on the animals."
In fact, Wayside Waifs has a wonderful donor who has been so inspired by our youth philanthropists that this individual is MATCHING ALL YOUTH FUNDRAISING EFFORTS UP TO $15,000! Anyone who is 18 years of age or younger and fundraises for Strutt With Your Mutt will have their gifts matched.
Rob Sight Ford has been a longtime supporter of Wayside Waifs and has participated as a sponsor of Strutt With Your Mutt for many years. In 2015 they took their involvement to a whole new level, putting together a Rob Sight Ford corporate team, collectively raising life-saving funds for animals in need. Employees volunteered to host a carwash at the dealership, a bake sale and a raffle. Team members invited their families to participate and it became the very example of a team effort. One of the most successful fundraising strategies used was a fundraising MATCH. The dealership generously matched team gifts up to $5,000. The team raised more than $13,000 in their first year, all to help animals find a second chance at a happy life! In 2017, Rob Sight Ford became a Strutt Presenting Sponsor, raising over $17,000 towards the event goal.
Kristi Davis and Jen Nelson's love for animals has, well, gone to the dogs. Kristi and Jen have a gaggle of papillions, the most recent being a Waif Alum. They started participating in Strutt in 2013 and have made a it a morning to spend with family and friends. Their team, Dogs Rule, was the top fundraising team in 2013 and 2014 and they've never stoppped Strutting to save lives.
“We first got involved with Strutt in 2013 as it looked like a fun event that we could participate in with our dogs and raise money for Wayside. We ended up pulling a team together and made it a group event. We have participated every year since as the same team and try to at least match the same amount raised as the last year. The team has changed year to year, but the common goal has never changed: raise money for Wayside Waifs & have fun with our dogs!” Kristi Davis, Dogs Rule.