18th annual Furry 5K draws thousands to Seward Park

SEATTLE -- Big dogs, small dogs, happy dogs, and fat dogs came to Seward Park on Sunday to run/walk in the Seattle Animal Shelter's 18th annual Furry 5K.

This year, organizers expected more than 2,000 people and 1,000 canines at the fun run.

The Furry 5K is one of the few races in the Puget Sound area that encourages participants to run or walk with their dogs.

All proceeds from the event directly support the shelter's Help the Animals Fund.

The Help the Animals Fund was created in 1977 to pay for lifesaving veterinary care for sick, injured and abused animals at the shelter. As the shelter's veterinary needs grew, volunteers started the Furry 5K in 1999 to raise money for the fund and to raise awareness about responsible pet ownership. Last year, the fund covered nearly $250,000 in veterinary bills.

Powered by pet licenses, volunteers, and charitable donations, Seattle Animal Shelter saved 3,715 animals from homelessness, neglect, and abuse in 2016. The shelter's low-cost Spay and Neuter Clinic performed 2,613 surgeries.