Walkers put their best foot forward for animal group

EAST LIVERPOOL – It had been years since Bill Collins had owned a dog. Then, a chance encounter with a local group of dog lovers changed all that.

The Wellsville man met Marsha McGinnis and Glenn Taylor of Paws-R-Riding On It last year. “I just happened to stop by their bike run and talk to them one day,” he said, “and they showed me him.”

Collins was referring to Garcia, the Manchester terrier that he adopted from Paws-R-Riding On It a year ago. “He’s unbelievable. He’s very well trained,” he said.

On Sunday, Collins brought Garcia and some homemade oatmeal-and-peanut butter dog biscuits with him to the annual Paws-R-Riding On It dog walk at Thompson Park in East Liverpool.

The dog walk is an awareness and fundraising event for Paws-R-Riding On It, a non-profit organization founded by McGinnis and Taylor as a way to help animals in need – mostly dogs and cats – with adoptions, foster home placements, vaccinations, spaying/neutering and other services.

“We love animals,” Taylor said. “We didn’t have a lot of money, but we wanted to do something for them.”

McGinnis and Taylor started by holding a motorcycle run, which led to the organization’s name. The group now holds several fundraisers a year, including two bike runs, and provides its services solely through donations.

Instead of charging a fee for all the costs associated with an adoption, Paws-R-Riding On It simply asks the adoptive home for a donation of food for the next adoptable animal. “It’s a way of paying it forward,” Taylor said.

Chester native Ken Durbin, who works with the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based organization Paws and Prayers, spent Sunday comparing notes with the people from Paws-R-Riding On It.

“For them to give them away for a bag of dog food – it’s amazing,” he said.

Durbin said his organization charges $300 for adoptions but that veterinary bills can run as high as $600.

Paws-R-Riding On It relies on monetary donations and food donations from companies such as the Lisbon-based Blackwood Pet Food, Taylor said. Dogs and cats that require spaying or neutering are taken to Angels for Animals, of Canfield, Ohio, which offers the group a discount.

McGinnis said the organization is not just about facilitating adoptions. “We’re more about helping the public,” she said.

If someone has a pet but cannot afford to spay or neuter it, Paws-R-Riding On It can help, she said. What’s more, the Straw for Paws program helps people with outdoor pets by providing them with straw, food, bowls, leashes and collars, and flea medicine.

The organization currently has four dogs living in foster homes while they await adoption.