With them were their two small dogs, Apollo, who is an 8-year-old Cairn Terrier mix, and Kelsey, a 13-year-old Brussels Griffon/Bichon Frise mix.

“We love our pets and we love this facility, so we wanted to help them raise money,” Melissa said. “It’s really such a good cause. They keep this place so nice and clean, and we bring our dogs here to get their shots every year.”

Around 1 p.m. a large group of people and their canine companions left the Albrecht Center on Willow Run Road and enjoyed a leisurely stroll on the streets nearby before returning for a patio party.

Russ Richardson, a member of the Albrecht Center’s board of directors, and his wife, Jennifer, cooked the hamburgers, veggie burgers and hotdogs that were served.

“We started out with a $10,000 goal,” said Albrecht Center President and CEO Barbara Nelson. “Then we had one big donor who gave us $5,000, so we upped our goal to $15,000 and we’ve passed that. The money will be used to support our operations. The vast majority of it will go directly to taking care of the animals.”

Nelson added that another goal of the Walk for Animals was to increase public awareness about animal welfare issues.

“The Aiken community has done a brilliant job supporting the SPCA and the Aiken County Animal Shelter, but we need to make sure that everyone realizes that the work we do needs to continue,” Nelson said. “We have to get more people to spay and neuter their pets to reduce the amount of animals that are coming into our shelters. We want to keep that at the forefront of everybody’s minds.”

For the Walk for Animals, Albrecht Center board member Jill Thomas formed a fundraising team with her friends Jeannie Groat, Jenne Stoker and Gail King.

Thomas brought Lou Lou, her Maltese/Poodle mix, and Groat came with Chili Dog, her Wirehaired Dachshund.

Accompanying Stoker were her two little mixed-breed dogs, Annie and Annie’s daughter, Ollie.

King showed up with her English Spring Spaniel, who is named Rory McIlroy, and her 5-year-old grandson, Anderson King.