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Long Beach dog walk raises funds for vets, pets

Maxine Gantman of Long Beach brought her new

Maxine Gantman of Long Beach brought her new dog, Carmela, to participate in the Dogs for a Cause walk in Lido Beach. (May 15, 2011) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

Some cold wind and a little drizzle didn’t stop Dr. Lewis Gelfand’s patients from walking for a cause on Sunday morning.

Gelfand, who owns All Creatures Veterinary Services in Long Beach, organized the practice’s first Dogs for a Cause benefit dog walk in Lido Beach and hoped to raise about $4,000 for two charities.

Long Beach Waterfront Warriors, which sponsors vacations to Long Beach for veterans and their families, and Amie’s Place Foundation, which provides funding to organizations that help the critically ill care for their pets, were each beneficiaries of the hospital’s inaugural fundraising event. Gelfand is on the board of directors for Amie’s Place Foundation, which is based in New York City but looking to expand its services to Long Island and other areas across the U.S..

Gelfand said Dogs for a Cause was his first venture in fundraising but he hopes to make it an annual event, as well as fundraise throughout the year for these and other charities.

He said the event had raised about $2,000 in registration fees for the dog walk, and he hoped to double that amount in raffle ticket sales at the event.

With the rain muddying the Nickerson Beach dog run, where Gelfand had hoped to hold the walk on Sunday, about 50 dogs and their owners instead walked circles around the beach parking lot.

The dogs generally didn’t seem to mind the cold as much as their owners, with the exception of Carmela, a 5-month-old longhaired terrier that cuddled up to owner Maxine Gantman in a pink fleece sweater.

“It’s a terrific cause and I’m glad to participate,” said Gantman of Long Beach, who is a new dog owner. “It’s just a chance to get out, we love the beach, rain or shine.”

Gelfand proudly led the walk while holding on to his white golden retriever, Ritz. Though a long line of dogs -- a mix of colors, ages and breeds -- followed suit, at least one dog just couldn’t give up the idea of a day at the beach.

Dragging owner Cathy Pettit of Long Beach with him, Kiefer, a 5-year-old golden retriever, abandoned the chain of walkers as soon as he found a patch of sand along the dunes and started to dig.

“Well, so much for the walk,” Pettit said.

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