More than 200 animal lovers showed their love and support for their four-legged friends by participating in a 5K and 1 mile Fun Run at Hoover Veterans Park as part of a fundraiser to help the Shelby County Humane Society. In addition to raising funds for the shelter, the fifth annual Paws for the Cause was also a fun and relaxing day out for the entire family.
"Paws for the Cause is a 5K Run and 1 mile pet walk,” said Donna McFeeters, president of the Animal League of Birmingham. “We actually took this fundraiser over and agreed to continue the mission for Shelby County Humane Society. People love to run the 5k, and dogs that are trained can run in the 5k too! We have gift baskets for the top male and top female, and there are medals for each age group category winner. And then there's the 1-mile Fun Run. You can either run or walk and you can run with your pet in the 1-mile. There are prizes for the winner of the Top Dog in the 1 mile as well."
The Animal League of Birmingham started about three years ago with a small group of five women who shared a desire to help more animals throughout the city.
“We recruited more people and now we have about 32 members. We just like to raise money to help small shelters and rescues. Anytime there is an animal we can help out we try to.”
This year’s 1 mile winner was Tobi, a 2-year-old Catahoula mix that enjoys running every chance he can get. This time his love of running earned him a gift basket full of doggie goodies, toys, a stuffed animal and gift certificates.
"We do a lot of running around campus at the University of Montevallo. So he does quite a bit of running with me and when my boyfriend comes up we all run together," said owner Katie Rogers.
"Tobi can still keep up with me, and I’m in the military and do half marathons,” said James York, Rogers’ boyfriend. “So he just keeps me the whole way. If I run with him there's no issues. "
But when he’s not taking a long run with Rogers or her boyfriend, Tobi prefers to cuddle in the bed next to his owner until the next opportunity to run with his two best friends.
"He also ran the 5k with us as well. He ran with both of us for the 5K and with James for the 1 mile. So he got in 4.1 miles today. I'm hoping he sleeps later today!"
“We had more than 200 people pre-register and an additional 22 signed up on the day of the event,” said McFeeters. “We average about 225 walkers and runners each year.”
"We usually have about 100 dogs at the event, and we have bandanas for them. It's just a fun time for the whole family. We have clowns there to do face painting and balloon shapes for the kids. Vendors are there, so its just a good morning that families can come out and spend time together. They can run bring there dogs out and have a good time!"