(Delmarva.com) -- The waterfront town of Saxis will be the site of lots of tail wagging activity on Saturday, Aug. 19, when several animal advocacy groups on the Eastern Shore of Virginia are holding an inaugural event called Dog Days of Saxis.
The groups hope to raise money at the event to help pay for food, shelter, veterinary care, and spaying and neutering for rescued animals.
Among other activities, Dog Days will include a Blessing of the Animals at 10:30 a.m. Attendees are invited to bring their dog, cat or other pet, or a photograph of a past pet, to be blessed.
"We chose Aug. 19 for a reason — it's Homeless Dog Day, so we thought it appropriate to have a blessing as well," said Shawn Coyte of Shore Paws for a Better Life, one of the groups sponsoring the event.
The event, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pavilion at 9151 Starling Creek Road, is free, but organizers are asking attendees to bring donations of food and supplies for their rescue dogs.
A list of needed supplies and information about the event, including contest entry and vendor forms, is on Facebook at Dogs Days of Saxis.
"The Eastern Shore of Virginia stretches for 75 miles, encompassing two counties, Accomack and Northampton. With a population of 45,553 people, 73 percent of whom live in Accomack County, a small group of people work endlessly and tirelessly trying to improve the quality of life for the animals of the Shore," a press release about the event said.
The organizations sponsoring Dogs Days are Shore Paws for a Better Life; K-9 Rescue of the Eastern Shore; Dogs Deserve Better Eastern Shore; the SPCA; and Kindness Matters Rescue and Transport.
"The local rescues and individuals who step up to make a difference face many challenges with limited funding and foster homes being the biggest hurdles," according to the release.
The money for veterinary care and food alone "is a huge financial burden, and this money comes from our bank accounts," it said.
"We don't rescue for the glory of it; we rescue because we truly care for the many dogs and other animals that have been forced to suffer needlessly, and we want to make a difference. Rescues step up when no one else will," said Coyte.
Dogs Days of Saxis will feature music by DJ Dennis, local singers Megan Morrison and Scott Stintly, and the Friends of Faith Bluegrass Band.
Additionally, there will be food by Hardhead's BBQ, vendors, raffles and contests, including corn hole and the Best Dog Gone Motorcycle contest.
Registration for the motorcycle contest is $10 and judging is at 2 p.m. Contact Karen Windsor at Cycle Creations and mail entry forms to 28352 Whites Neck Road, Parksley, Va. 23421. Forms are on the event Facebook page.
There will be a coloring contest for the kids, with prizes including a day on Chincoteague of putt-putt golf, pizza and ice cream.
Face painting, pony rides and more will be part of the event.
Craft vendors can find a form to set up at the event on the Facebook page.
Attendees who donate a medium or large dog harness and leash to K-9 Rescue of the Eastern Shore will get a chance to have their pet's picture in an upcoming calendar of animals of the Shore.
There will also be an opportunity to talk with members of the rescue groups and with an animal control officer at the event.
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Coyte thanked the businesses and individuals who have helped make Dog Days a reality, including C.D. Marsh Jewelers; Copper Creations; Baskets and Bows; Eastern Shore Animal Hospital; Shore Tire and Auto; and the Club Car Cafe.
Shore Paws' long-terms goals include educating people about animal rights and care and working to improve laws "that will not only help the local dogs, but also other animals nationwide," she said.
The group's ultimate goal is to raise enough money to purchase land to build a sanctuary to house animals in transition, Coyte said.