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Nob Hill Summer Shop and Stroll Promotes Animal Adoption

By Rick Nathanson
Journal Staff Writer
    It's the perfect melding of retail and wagging tail. The Nob Hill Summer Shop and Stroll not only gets people to shop extra late, but animal welfare agencies can show off cats and dogs and raise awareness about animal adoptions.
    "We get people to come to the neighborhood to see the stores, restaurants, bars and all the diversity of businesses here," said Martha Somerville, owner of Papers!, a decorative paper, stationery and card shop in Nob Hill Shopping Center.
    During the Summer Shop and Stroll events, to be held from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, July 15, and Aug. 19, many Nob Hill area shops will offer refreshments, discounts or special sales. A group of roving street performers will mingle with the strollers, and three bands will provide live music around the neighborhood along Central Avenue, east of the University of New Mexico.
    The first Summer Shop and Stroll took place on June 17. The goal is to make the event a permanent feature every third Friday night from June through August, according to Somerville, who is vice president of the Nob Hill Business Association and a member of the special events committee.
    Many of the area stores will provide space for animal welfare organizations. Not only will adoptable dogs and cats be available, but there will be informational tables with literature about the organizations, adoptions, spaying and neutering and more.
    "We want to help raise awareness about the need for animal adoptions, but also to help promote some of the grass-roots organizations working for animal welfare that aren't well known and don't have a lot of funding," said Kitty Trask, owner of The Pueblo Loft, a Nob Hill shop that sells Native American art.
    "Nob Hill is a real animal place; people come shopping with their pets all the time," Trask said. "We get to know our customers and we talk a lot about animals and compare notes. I've had customers come in here with dogs, cats, birds and ferrets."
    Ann Beyke, community relations manager with the Animal Humane Association of New Mexico, called the Nob Hill venue "a perfect opportunity for us to have dogs that are available for adoption out in the public, where they get more exposure and we can show how good they are with other people and other dogs. And it gets them out of the shelter for a nice walk."
    An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 animals are euthanized each year in the Albuquerque area.
    "That's way too many animals," Beyke said.
    PAWS, Pets Are Wonderful Support, will also be represented at the Stroll. "Our mission is to help clients keep and maintain their companion animals," said Maggie Smith, director of resource development for New Mexico AIDS Services, which operates the program.
    "We provide pet food, veterinary services and anything they need to take care of their animals," including volunteers to walk and play with an animal if the pet owner is too sick or frail.
    "For some of our clients, their pets are the only emotional support they have," Smith said.
    PAWS is funded solely by donations, and needs about $5,000 yearly to operate.
    Other organizations expected to be present at the Strolls include PACA, People's Anti-Cruelty Association; the city of Albuquerque Animal Care Center; and CARMA, Companion Animal Rescue and Medical Assistance.