By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor

BIG SKY – The Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter is shooting to raise $20,000 this year, at its March 3 event in Big Sky, the Snowshoe Shuffle.

The animal shelter invites dog owners to bring with their best friends (canine or human) to Moonlight Basin for an evening of snowshoeing, chili dinner and live music from the Bridger Creek Boys.

Nearly 200 people and 50 dogs attended last year, raising approximately $17,000 for the shelter, said Kathryn Hohmann, HOV’s development director. It’s one of the shelter’s three annual fundraisers.

“It’s wonderful for us to do something in Big Sky, because it’s an important community for us,” Hohmann said. “We know there are so many people there that have an outdoor lifestyle. There are dogs in our shelter that really do best in homes that value recreation. Knowing that Big Sky supports the shelter is very encouraging to us here.”

In addition to fundraising, the Snowshoe Shuffle helps educate people about the shelter and increase adoptions, Hohmann said.

Snowshoe rentals are free, and an auction and raffle brings in the big bucks for Heart of the Valley. Prizes include a pair of skis, spa packages and restaurant gift certificates. The evening also includes a cameo appearance from several shelter dogs.

Heart of the Valley offers adoption counseling, lost and found services, micro-chipping, Pet Pals Summer Day Camp, a volunteer program, and loving care for all its furry friends from Madison and Gallatin counties. It currently has 100-plus cats and about 45 dogs.

heartofthevalleyshelter.org