Walking for a cause and running with paws

Walking for a cause and running with paws

Untitled4Set an alarm, grab a few puppy-loving pals and spend a morning supporting Lee County’s Gulf Coast Humane Society. The GCHS is hosting its fifth annual Fast and Furriest fundraiser on Saturday, April 18 at Hammond Stadium. Participants can choose between a 5K timed run or a one-mile walk and may do it with or without a dog.

From the competitive runner to the stroller who enjoys long walks, there is an activity for everyone.

“It’s a really fun event for anyone and everyone who loves pets, loves to run or walk, and wants to support Lee County’s premier no-kill shelter,” said Jill McKee, a board member and volunteer co-chair for the fundraiser.

After the race, refreshments are provided to all runners (both furry and not) and trophies are presented to the three fastest pups in three different weight classes and to the fastest 5K runners. Trophies will also be awarded to participants who donate the most money to the event.

The Gulf Coast Humane Society was established in 1947 as the first nonprofit animal welfare organization in Southwest Florida. The GCHS had record-breaking adoptions of 1,505 pets last year. Members do this without a cent of funding from either the Humane Society of the United States or  federal, state or county governments. Funding is derived from individual and corporate donations, grants and fundraising events. Each and every dollar is worth contributing to the organization to continue the help they have provided for the past 68 years.

The cost to participate in the Fast & Furriest fundraiser ranges from $15 to $40 and varies based on age, whether you choose to run or walk, and if you choose to bring a pet.

“One hundred percent of funding is used by the Humane Society to rescue and care for abused and neglected cats and dogs and to find forever homes for these tens of thousands of animals who deserve a second chance,” McKee said. It starts at 8 a.m. (I’m sure there’s a Starbucks on the way.) Last year, hundreds of participants flocked from across Southwest Florida to attend the, dare I say it, tail-wagging event. The first 300 people to register receive a free t-shirt. Learn more and sign-up by visiting www.gulfcoasthumanesociety.org or www.active.com.