Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

A Canine Community: Tails Humane Society’s Mutt Strut 5K

Every dog has its day and for Tails Humane Society that day fell on a beautiful Saturday morning. Participants put their best foot (or paw) forward to complete 3 miles in Hopkins Park in Dekalb, Illinois at the annual Mutt Strut 5K. This is the 12th year in a row the limited admission animal shelter has hosted this event, bringing dog lovers and lovable dogs together in a community of good-natured enthusiasm.

“Everybody gets along really well. It’s really fun to see all the people and the dogs come together.” – Maria, Volunteer

In a town where you can travel down both Peace Road and Pleasant Street, it’s no wonder you’re greeted by such an enjoyable experience at Hopkins Park. Over 325 registrants signed up for the Mutt Strut 5K and nearly 65% brought along their furry friends! From little Chihuahuas riding in strollers to big slobbery bow-wows sleeping under trees after the first mile, a wide variety of pups came to the starting line. wagging their tails excitedly in the company of their fellow canines.

Strut Your Stuff

To help prepare for the event, Quality Logo Products worked alongside Tails Humane Society by designing an updated 2017 logo to feature on their t-shirts and bandanas. We also served as a sponsor for the event having provided custom tote bags at no additional expense to the organization.

Bright red tote bags with the Mutt Strut logo

Of course, all of these promotional products are just an added bonus. The real stars of the show were the lovable pups and their excited owners. Across the board, the participants were thrilled to be part of the Tails community and happy to show their support. From married couples and families to single runners and their four-legged partners, everyone was clearly thrilled to spend the day with their best friends.

In the Family 

Once you’re in the Tails family, you’re in forever. Many people who adopt their dogs from the shelter continue to visit and show their support for the organization even after they are settled with their new pet. It goes beyond the complementary training Tails offers with their adoptions. The people at the Mutt Strut have genuine love for the organization and their mission. This explains why every month Anna and her husband Tom bring a box of treats over to the shelter for the dogs. It’s also why Christine and her dog Rizzo bring any strays they find to Tails without hesitation. Adopters and their pets form an authentic bond with the organization and never tire of showing their support.

This kind of love extends beyond Tails regulars to include first-time attendees like Jayme and her daughter Kayla. Having adopted their dog (interestingly enough also named Rizzo, Go Cubs Go!) from Tails two years ago, they were happy to take a trip down memory lane and reunite with the shelter that gave them the new addition to their family. Playful and curious, you could see Rizzo is happy to be at the Mutt Strut and see her old friends from Tails. Jayme even mentioned that Rizzo is prepared to go the distance and complete the 3 miles at record speed. After all, what else can you expect from a dog named after a World Series champ?!

“A lot of these dogs are high strung so this is a perfect way to get some energy out. I’m happy to have Joe as my running buddy.” – Natalie, Runner

Natalie and her dog Joe at the finish line








Aside from regulars and first-time attendees, there were also participants who just wanted to bring their dog out and show their support. First place finalist, Natalie adopted her dog from a different shelter, but was thrilled to spend a day with her best friend. After crossing the finish line, Joe made straight for the water bowls while Natalie high-fived all of the friends and family who came to support her. You could see how much it meant for Natalie and Joe to share this special moment together.

Going to the Dogs


Ready to go the full distance

For these canines and their owners, the Mutt Strut is a chance to catch up with fellow dog lovers and raise much-needed funds for the organization. This nonprofit can’t achieve their mission of supplying a good home to the dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and even parakeets that come through their doors without the support they gain through fundraising. In fact, Tails spends $10,000 a month just on basic necessities such as medical care, spay/neuter surgeries, and food. Every expense is worth providing over 2,400 animals the chance to find the home they deserve. And with approximately 65 million companion animals entering shelters across the United States, every opportunity to gain money and spread awareness is a paws-itive one.

“The event has a family reunion type feeling. Many of our foster families reconnect with these animals and their new people.” – Heather, Development and Marketing Manager Tails Humane Society

Without the funds raised from events like the Mutt Strut, Lucky, a little Chihuahua looking for a new home, may never have found shelter at Tails. Lucky came to the organization after his owner was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had to permanently move into a care facility. Full of tears, his wife Kathy came in with Lucky and asked the volunteers if it was possible for her lovable dog to find a new home. She brought along his toys and bed and felt heartbroken over losing her faithful friend and this connection to her husband. Even though this moment was hard for Kathy, she was met with nothing but compassion by the volunteers who assured her Lucky would be treated with respect. This story had a happy ending when Lucky was able to find a new adoptive family and get the love he deserved.

Tails doesn’t always have to go 3 miles to go the distance when it comes to taking care of the animals in their facility.  Whether it’s dogs like Lucky looking for a new home or baby kittens who just want a family to call their own, this nonprofit welcomes all critters into their community with open arms. If you’d like to learn more about their mission, visit their website today at:

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa loves food. A LOT. Particularly pizza and popcorn, but she knows beggars can’t be choosers. When she’s not stuffing her face (which is rare), she loves watching movies, playing volleyball and softball, and engaging in any number of interesting shenanigans. If she had to pick a spirit animal, she’d be an otter because they are playful and love to laugh. Most of the time she’s laughing at herself, whether other people are laughing with or at her is to be determined.


  1. Kelly Bird

    My very own rescue, “Bear”, joined our family from Tails just a couple of months ago. It’s awesome to see QLP working with such a great organization in our own community! #RESCUESAREMYFAVORITEBREED

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