Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

It will be a doggy dog of a time at FDR State Park for two weekends for the Blue Path Dogs Walkathon and the SPCA of Westchester Dog Walk and Pet Fair


Blue Path Dogs Walk FDR – May 11, 2024

BluePath’s seventh annual walkathon raised more than $185,000 to support the nonprofit’s life-changing mission.

On Saturday, May 11, BluePath Service Dogs will host its eighth annual walkathon at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights. The family-friendly fundraiser, held from 10:00am to 1:00pm, will raise funds in support of BluePath’s mission to provide autism service dogs, offering safety, companionship, and opportunities for independence.

The walkathon is open to all ages and begins in Lot 4 of FDR State Park. Walkers can choose between a 1.7-mile or 3-mile loop and will have access to food, games, and all-day fun – rain or shine. Friendly dogs are welcome on leashes 6′ or shorter. Attendees can also meet BluePath dogs and learn more about how the nonprofit is creating a better world for children with autism.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every 36 children born today will develop an autism spectrum disorder. It is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.

For the Flaherty family in Peekskill, BluePath Chester has helped their daughter Kaitlin lead a safer, fuller life.

“Kaitlin was nine when she first bolted from me and was almost hit by a car,” said Nancy Flaherty, Kaitlin’s mom. “Her bolting had become a big problem and I was overcome with worry and fear, wondering how I was going to protect her. As a result, autism began to imprison my family as we dreaded leaving the house.”

“We began to live life again when Kaitlin received BluePath service dog, Chester. He keeps her safe and provides her with companionship and enhanced independence,” said Flaherty. “Children think it’s cool to have such a special dog; they stop the pair to say hello and ask questions, which lifts her spirits, as she’s now communicating and building social skills.”

Chester has not only helped Kaitlin reestablish her self-confidence and engage with others, he is also her best friend.

Each BluePath dog comes with thousands of hours of training from dedicated volunteers and professional staff. While the cost to prepare these incredible dogs is upwards of $40,000, BluePath provides its service dogs – and intensive, ongoing follow up support – completely free of charge. Reduced stress, improved sleeping routines, and more meaningful social interactions can allow families to feel a renewed sense of hope and empowerment.

“We feel so blessed to have Chester as Kaitlin’s service dog. It’s heartwarming to see her smile with Chester by her side and we are relieved she is safe,” added Flaherty. “Chester gives our family the courage to stand up to autism and return to a sense of normalcy. There is no price to attach to a parent’s peace of mind that comes with an autism service dog… Quite frankly, BluePath saved our lives.”

BluePath’s seventh annual walkathon raised more than $185,000 to support the nonprofit’s life-changing mission

The schedule for the 8th annual walkathon is a family – and dog – friendly event benefiting BluePath, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing autism service dogs is: 

10am: Registration opens

10:30am: Official kick off the 8th Annual Walkathon – One and Three Mile options available.

10:45am – 1:00pm – Activities and fun for all, including DJ John Hannah’s Mobile Music Services, Bouncy Houses from G.S. Bounce, Bubble Bus, Backyard Sports, and more!

And back by popular demand BluePath’s Breakroom: a quiet tent with comfortable seating, books, and fidget toys, designed to provide a break from the hubbub of the event.

Food trucks will also be available for all those who need a snack or a lunch from The Grille Wagon, No Limits Cafe, and Bazodee Street Foods.

“Last year, hundreds of walkers raised more than $185,000 to further our mission. We look forward to building on that momentum and encourage all those interested in BluePath’s life-changing work to get involved” said BluePath co-founder and Vice President of Development, Michelle Brier. 

Photo Credit: Blue Path Dogs website

Walkathon registration includes a BluePath event t-shirt. Adult walkers are $30; children under 13 years old are $20. Visit to learn more or register. Those unable to participate in person may support walkers with an online donation or become a virtual walker with a personalized fundraising page.

BluePath Service Dogs, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2016 located in Wappingers Falls, NY. They can be reached at 845-377-0477 or by visiting For the latest news and updates, follow @BluePathServiceDogs on Facebook and on Instagram.


SPCA Dog Walk and Pet Fair at FDR State Park – May 18, 2024 

Join the thousands of animal lovers and their furry friends who will come out in support of the SPCA of Westchester’s Annual Dog Walk and Pet Fair. The SPCA Dog Walk and Pet Fair takes place on Saturday, May 18th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights.

This fun-filled family event has something for everyone. Attendees can take part in a trail walk with their four-legged best friend, and then enjoy shopping in the SPCA’s Woof and Meow Town Vendor Village while listening to Kacey and 100.7 WHUD. There will be plenty to do and plenty of fun including a new Kids Zone, demos, dog contests, food trucks and of course, a lot of really cute and cuddly furry friends that will be up for adoption.


Photo Credit: SPCA website

The SPCA just announced the that the brand new 26-foot state-of-the-art Mobile Adoption Unit, and the first of its kind in Westchester County, will be visiting the Walk and Pet Fair. The unit features 20 spacious cages and is equipped with roll up viewing windows and a booth for matchmaking discussions between staff and potential adopters making offsite adoptions a convenient one-stop shop.

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  • The SPCA Mobile Adoption Unit will make its debut on May 11, 2024 at the Chappaqua Farmer’s Market.

  • The SPCA Mobile Adoption Unit will make its debut on May 11, 2024 at the Chappaqua Farmer’s Market.

  • The SPCA Mobile Adoption Unit will make its debut on May 11, 2024 at the Chappaqua Farmer’s Market.

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The goal of the SPCA’s Annual Dog Walk and Pet Fair is to raise awareness and much needed funds for the thousands of homeless animals cared for at SPCA Westchester every year. This is the largest dog related event in Westchester County, with a goal of raising $120,000 for the SPCA.

Adopters, supporters, and animal lovers are all invited to attend with their canine companions and encouraged to collect donations. Walk-ins are welcome on-site the day of the event, but the SPCA encourages people to pre-register if possible. Once registered online, registrants can collect donations offline or share their fundraising page to collect donations online.  Fees to attend the event are $20 per individual and $35 for a family, kids 12 and under are free. However, if you raise $100 or more, the event is free. As a special incentive, the top 3 Walkers/Teams will win a prize to be announced the day of the event. 

Photo Credit: SPCA website

For further details or to become a sponsor or vendor, visit SPCA914.ORG, email [email protected] or call (914) 941-2896. Follow the SPCA of Westchester on Facebook and Instagram

The SPCA of Westchester is located at 590 North State Road in Briarcliff Manor and is a No-Kill Shelter. The SPCA Westchester was established in 1883 and was the first brick and mortar animal shelter in the region. The SPCA is not affiliated with the ASPCA.

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About the Contributor
Dave Mueller
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]