The Fifth Annual Dog Jog turned out beautifully! The weather was perfect and 256 runners and walkers, along with 156 dogs, joined us for an amazing day! Thank you to all of the runners, walkers, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, Dog Jog committee, and everyone else who helped to make this a wonderful day for all!
Fifth annual Dog Jog held at Grange Fairgrounds
by Sam Stitzer for StateCollege.com
CENTRE HALL — The Fifth annual Dog Jog 5K Run/Walk was held at the Grange Fairgrounds, in Centre Hall on April 27.
The event is a fundraiser for Pets Come First, a non-profit, all volunteer organization which runs the animal shelter in Potter Township. This event is different from the usual running events, since it allows the participating runners to take their dogs with them on the run. There was also a 1.5K walk for those who are a bit smaller, older, or slower — dogs or people. Prizes from local businesses and organizations were awarded to the top male and female finishers in each category.
According to event organizers, nearly 200 people were registered to participate. The event has grown larger each year since its inception, and Saturday’s good weather attracted a large crowd of both participants and spectators. Disc jockey Tor Michaels was on hand to provide music for the crowd to enjoy. He took song requests from the audience, and the first requested song was, of course, “Who Let the Dogs Out?”
By mid-morning, after registration was completed, the runners — both dog and human — lined up on the pavement at the edge of the Grange Fair midway. Deb Warner of Pets Come First signaled and they were off and running. The course made a five kilometer (3.1 miles) serpentine loop around the southern end of the fairgrounds, returning to the finish line near the Grange exhibit buildings. David Eggler of the Nittany Valley Running Club handled the timing duty, recording each runner’s time.
In about 20 minutes, runners began crossing the finish line. The first human/dog team across the line was Paul Fritzsche and his dog, Bella. One at a time, or in small groups, the others followed, with the human runners often more exhausted than the dogs.
The runners — human and canine — ran the gamut of age and size. Among the youngest runners was 10-year-old Morgan Stover of Spring Mills. She ran with one of the smallest dogs in the event, her tiny Yorkshire terrier Nikki, finishing the race in about 32 minutes. Running with Stover were her two grandmothers and two aunts, making the race a true family outing.
Both dogs and people helped themselves to water and snacks after the run.
Around 11 a.m., the 1.5K (just under a mile) walk began, on the fair midway and followed a loop around the grounds. This gave the smaller and slower dogs a way to get in on the fun.
In addition to the running events, an exhibit building was filled with displays by animal-themed organizations and businesses. Several animal rescue groups were present with displays, and representatives informing the public of their many services and activities.
Many vendors of pet-related merchandise and foods were present, and a silent auction of items generously donated by local businesses was conducted to raise funds as well.
Pets Come First Animal Shelter Enjoys Successful First Year
By Karen Dabney for The Centre County Gazette.
CENTRE HALL–Pets Come First is celebrating their successful first year of managing the former SPCA animal shelter in Centre Hall.
They became the administrators in January 2012, as part of the Pennsylvania SPCA’s program to find local non-profits to take over some of their facilities. Pets Come First had a prior relationship with the shelter as a fund-raising partner and the leader of the successful campaign to transform the high-kill shelter into a no-kill adoption center.
“The first year was successful, way beyond expectations. It was such a learning experience,” said Deb Warner, president of Pets Come First. “We’re averaging 60 cats a month easily in our low cost spay/neuter clinics. We went way over our target as far as adoptions.” She said the Pets Come First shelter has had 556 animal adoptions: dogs, cats, and some rabbits and pigs.
Warner and her dedicated volunteers want every adoption to be successful. They work with the animals to socialize them and learn their temperaments so they can advise prospective adopters about which pets would be good matches for them. A professional pet trainer helps them assess the dogs and deal with behavioral issues through training.
The adoption fee includes spaying or neutering, treatment for worms and fleas, rabies and distemper vaccines, bordatello shots for dogs, FIV/FELU testing for cats, and microchips.
“I wish more people who adopt a dog or cat would understand that they’re not perfect. You have to work with them,” said volunteer Cookie Crissman.
Warner agreed. “I’ve got people who won’t take a dog that isn’t housebroken.” She hopes to offer dog training classes in the future, and would like to create an agility course on the property.
Pets Come First has a long waiting list of people who want to surrender their pets. “Our biggest goal here is to educate people,” Warner said. “We’re killing 4 million animals a year in this country. Spay/neuter–that’s the only thing that’s going to stop overpopulation and cruelty. But we’ve made appointments for low cost spay/neuter and the people won’t even show up.”
Financially the shelter is doing okay, Warner said. “We’re paying our bills and slowly building our reputation. A guy walked in here the other day and gave $100 as a Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend.”
In October 2012, Warner became the first paid Pets Come First staff member, and she hopes to be able to afford more paid staff in the future. “Our weekends are insane–we’re so crazy busy.”
“It’s a wonderful experience,” said volunteer coordinator Emily Garaitonandia, who adopted her dog from Pets Come First. “The dogs and cats are always happy to see you. It feels good to give back to the community.” She said there are about 25 to 30 regular volunteers, and 250 volunteers on their mailing list.
Victoria Maras said she began volunteering two or three years ago when the shelter was still the SPCA. “I really like helping the animals and feel like I can make a difference.”
“The amount of animals we adopt out of here is just heartwarming,” said Crissman. “I love it here.”
Lindsey Aumiller, the owner of 1 Lucky Dog Grooming Studio in State College, adopted Coburn, a yellow lab mix, as a hiking companion on February 16 and rated her experience as wonderful. “The knowledgeable staff were willing to take the time to help me look for the perfect dog.”
When asked how the community can help Pets Come First, Warner said, “Financial support’s the big thing. And we’re always looking for committed volunteers.”
For more information, visit www.petscomefirst.org or their Facebook page.
A BIG thank you to Seven Mountains, Trader Joes, The D-Stress Station, Jerry Watson & Suzanne Bierly for the great music, the local businesses who donated food and silent auction items. We cannot forget the volunteers who make all our events possible!
Snow storm Nemo was heading to the east coast but that did not stop our dedicated PCF supporters who came out in spite of the weather and made the event a big success for the second year in a row.
What an amazing year! Together we made a difference in our community. Let us ring in the New Year and celebrate the animals who have found new homes. We have adopted 21 cats/kittens and 15 dogs! That is a total of 36 animals who found loving homes this December.
We thank each and every one of you who opened your home to a new furry friend and to all the hard working volunteers. Our volunteers stepped up to the plate and offered their time and love to care for and help us find homes for all the animals in our care.
We could not have done it without you! THANK YOU!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL OF US AT PCF!!!!
PCF wants to make sure you do not give pets as holiday gifts. Please support PCF in educating your family and friends that giving animals as gift is not recommended. It is hard to resist a puppy or kitten with a bow on its collar, but we want to make sure whoever is receiving the animal actually wants it. Choosing a pet is a personal decision and should be done by the person who will be responsible for that pet. Help us decrease the number of unwanted pets by spreading the word this holiday season.
PCF would like to thank our families who allow us to do what we love. To all the volunteers who show up daily, weekly and monthly to care for the animals and to those who fill the many behind the scene roles to run an organization. Thank you to all the generous people and businesses in our community who have made donations to our organization. Thank you to the families who have opened their hearts and have given many of the animals in our care a new loving home they so deserve. Happy Thanksgiving!
What a great team of volunteers we have working with the public helping them find their forever furry friend companions. This month we have adopted 19 cats and 7 dogs. Two dogs even found their way back home. That is 26 loving animals have a new place to call home.
In September two Cat Clinic were held and a total of 60 cats were spayed and neutered.