WILTON — With the number of dog videos on social media, how did this not happen sooner?

The Norwalk River Valley Trail has seen its use up by more than 150 percent since recreation facilities have been closed, but with social distancing the rule of the day it’s no place this year for the annual Mutt Strut fundraiser.

Taking a cue from other nonprofits, the trail is introducing “Mutt Strut & Friends Virtual.” This event, which begins May 15 and continues through June 5, gives everyone the chance to showcase their dogs, win prizes and raise funds to build more of the trail. So far, eight miles are built with 22 to go.

Pet owners are invited to post their favorite picture of their dog or share a short video of clip of those crazy dog tricks. They may do the same for their other furry friends — (cats, ferrets, bunnies and others) who would normally not be found on the trail.

The “Top Dog,” “Cutest Pet,” and “Best Video” will win prizes for the pets and their humans including Cannondale bicycles, Joy Food fresh dog food, grooming and other prizes in addition to the prestigious Mutt Strut & Friends Virtual trophies. http://muttstrut.nrvt-trail.com/

Registration is online at muttstrut.nrvt-trail.com. Participants and interested onlookers may visit the site to view the Mutt Strut & Friends Virtual Leaderboard daily to see the leading “mutts.”

All proceeds from this event will help extend the community- friendly multipurpose trail that is planned to cover 30 miles, from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, through Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding, to Rogers Park in Danbury.