Community Event: “Strut Your Mutt” with Neil and Marlee ~ Virtual Fundraising Dog Walk on October 24, 2020

by | Aug 26, 2020 | News & Events

We’re teaming up with NorCal Boxer Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society and walking to save the lives of homeless pets!

Strut Your Mutt is a virtual walk and fundraising event hosted by Best Friends Animal Society on October 24, 2020. Pet parents everywhere are teaming up with local rescue groups, shelters and animal welfare organizations for a virtual community walk that benefits homeless dogs and cats across the country.

My chosen beneficiary is NorCal Boxer Rescue. NCBR provides a temporary sanctuary for Boxer dogs (pure and mixed-breed) throughout Northern California, the Central Valley (Fresno or farther north) and around the Nevada/California state line area. The rescue group is run entirely by volunteers and allocates nearly 100% of adoption fees and donations directly toward the care of boxers, including spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, a microchip, and more.

I first got involved with NCBR when I adopted a white Boxer girl shortly after my divorce. It was love at first sight as Blanca rolled across the parking lot in a grocery cart because the pavement was too hot for her paws. I joined the nonprofit’s Board of Directors in 2015 and have served as board chair, pro bono legal counsel, foster family, and devoted wiggle butt fan. With our newest addition, Marlee, we are learning that #deafdogsrock and enjoying a pandemic past time of American Sign Language learning. (she’s getting a brother soon!)

For each of the past several years, the funds raised through Strut Your Mutt have covered about a third of NCBR’s annual veterinary expenses, and this year the dogs need us more than ever. During the COVID-19 pandemic, NCBR is being asked to pull mostly dogs with extensive medical issues or those in their senior years … the younger pups are getting adopted by the shelters. The old and sick dogs are disproportionately suffering and NCBR needs to be prepared to shoulder the financial burden of rescuing these Boxers in need. You can join the fundraising effort by joining our virtual dog walk team or making a donation. Another simple way to give back is by using ResQWalk, a free mobile app that tracks steps to earn year-round dollars for your favorite animal welfare organization.

A long time ago in 2019 when I worked in an office building, I would occasionally sneak Huckleberry (RIP) into the suite. Those days felt lighter with my emotional support buddy by my side. A silver lining of the coronavirus response has been a permanent workplace change with furry co-worker included. Cheers to lawyer well-being.

ICYMI, I’m a dog person. I leaned heavily on my “best friend” during the darker days of my own divorce. Over the last 16 years, I’ve seen my share of pet-related family disputes. Dog adoption contracts at NorCal Boxer Rescue now include a clause designating the companion animal as “community property” between spouses or registered domestic partners. Our legal system has become increasingly pet-friendly in family law matters. In California, newer legislation mandates a “best interests of the pet” standard to guide the judge in property division conflicts. And certain pets receive special protection afforded by domestic violence restraining orders. When pet custody and visitation issues become emotional sticking points in a divorce, arbitration and private judging solutions can help to keep costs controlled in situations that might otherwise explode in a courtroom setting. I’m glad to see changes like these becoming more mainstream for pet-owning couples who are navigating the divorce process.   

Attorney NEIL FORESTER is the owner of FORESTER FAMILY LAW PC, a remote-first ADR practice. Amid COVID-19 conditions, he prioritizes out-of-court alternatives to traditional litigation for divorce and parenting disputes. Neil is a California bar-certified Family Law Specialist and a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He provides second opinions and trial strategy consulting, as well as prenups, adoptions, cohabitation agreements, domestic partnerships, and pet parenting plans. Learn more at and follow @nmeforester on Twitter. 

This information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.