Living

Relay for Dogs allows pets to participate in annual fundraiser for cancer society

During her years of volunteering with the Muscogee Country Relay for Life, Mandy Revell recalls having to turn people away who brought their dogs to the annual American Cancer Society walk.

“It seems every year someone comes with a dog and is asked to leave,” she said.

A dog owner herself, Revell has organized Relay for Dogs, an American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraiser. She hopes to make it an annual event.

The dog-friendly event will be 9 a.m.-1 p.m. April 25 at the Hardaway High School track, 2901 College Drive. That’s a few weeks before the human-only Muscogee County Relay for Life, which is May 15-16 at Kinnett Stadium.

Relay for Dogs’ activities will include a pet photographer, mini-seminars on dog training, agility demonstrations, on-site microchipping and an “Ask-A-Vet” booth featuring Smiths Station Animal Hospital.

Nevertheless, everyone is invited to the event, with or without a dog. All proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.

“(Relay for Dogs) mimics Relay for Life,” Revell said of the vendors and businesses that will be on-site.Social animals

Because “safety is our priority,” Revell said, dogs are required to be leashed at all times. Each dog must also have a certificate verifying an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Certificates can be obtained through the veterinarian’s office that administered the vaccination. Columbus residents also must show their proof of city permits.

Animal Control will be on hand to ensure rules are followed.

Owners who are wondering if their dogs would enjoy attending Relay for Dogs will want to consider their pets’ social skills.

Socialization is an important part of a dog’s life, said Hank Hall, veterinarian and owner of Northside Animal Hospital. “(The) best way to have them comfortable around you is to spend time with them.”

Dogs with good social skills may want to be part of The Canine Good Citizen program. Representatives from the program will be at the event 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. conducting tests and certification. This certification is required by some apartment complexes; it is entry-level training that recognizes dogs who exhibit good manners at home and in public. The test and certification is $10; dogs can be registered as they arrive .

Revell said that people can bring “however many (dogs) you can control,” but owners are responsible for cleaning up any waste their four-legged friends leave behind. Plastic bags will be provided.Spreading the word

To gain interest in the event, Revell has taken fliers to veterinarian offices, pet stores, local supporters of Relay for Life and any other organization that will take them.

“Word of mouth has really carried it,” said Revell, who noted how important that is for a nonprofit organization. Over 70 dogs have pre-registered. Registration for dogs is $10 in advance and $15 on-site. Through the Relay for Dogs Web site, www.relayfordogs.com, interested dog owners can either print out a registration form to mail in or electronically submit a form and payment. There is no charge for humans to attend.

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