Hogs for dogs

FORT WALTON BEACH More than 100 animal-loving bikers traveled around the Emerald Coast as part of the Paws on the Throttle Poker Run on Sunday.

This year's theme was "Hair of the Dog," a play on 2018 being the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac calendar.

Bikers started at the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society shelter. The poker run continued at a handful of stops in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Freeport and Niceville where the run ended at Cafe Edge with a live band, beer and massages for bikers. At each stop, bikers collected one playing card, and the one with the best poker hand at the end of the run won.

"This fundraising helps the shelter massively," said Manda Moore, community development coordinator at PAWS. "It helps fund programs and will go toward our new shelter. And we love the bikers. They tend to be some of the most generous people. It's kind of like some our animals . you don't want to judge them from the outside."

This is the 11th year of the poker run. Sherman Pyle said he's participated nearly every year.

"We gotta take care of the animals," said Pyle who has a miniature dachshund at home. "We're out here for the cause."

Father and daughter team Rick and Krystal Helms are both animal lovers. Rick has two cats and a bird, and Krystal has four rescue cats of her own. They

were both excited to hit the road.

"We're ready to have a good time," said Rick as he hopped on his motorcycle. "We've done this for years."

While Patsy Henson was registering she gushed to volunteers about her rescued pets from PAWS.

"We love PAWS," she said. "The people here are so good with the animals. As soon as we heard about this event, we were in. I love the camaraderie.

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