Race turns focus to younger set

RANCHO SANTA FE — Helen Woodward Animal Center has always loved its “Old Dogs,” but this year’s fourth annual Puppy Love 5K Run/Walk will pay special attention to its “Young Pups,” too. The family-focused run/walk, which supports the pets and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center, takes place between 7 a.m. and noon Feb. 10. It will include a Valentine-themed doggy costume contest; Doga Yoga; Doggy Agility Courses and food and canine-loving vendors in the Wagging Wellness Village.Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the race kicks off at 8 a.m. Race entry is $35 for adult runner and walkers and $15 for junior runners and walker. For more information or to register, visit puppyloverun.kintera.org or call (858) 756-4117, ext. 379.

Center staffers have noticed a heartwarming increase in the number of junior animal-lovers dedicating their time, their creativity and even their allowances to orphan animals. With this in mind, the annual 5K race along Highway 101 in Solana Beach, will dedicate new activities contests and a variety of fun events to the kid-crowd.

In the recent months, little animal-lovers with big hearts have come out in abundance. Gracie Rathbun, a 6-year-old, set up her very own “boutique” of gently used toys and homemade cookies and cupcakes, raising nearly $1,000 for Center pets. Months later, Rathbun requested Helen Woodward Animal Center donations in lieu of birthday gifts from party guests.

Katherine Resko, 13, the youngest volunteer at the center, spent her Christmas holiday break earning babysitting and pet-sitting money, only to donate it all to the Helen Woodward Animal Center when she set her eyes on a 15-year old orphan feline with few remaining teeth. The heartwarming underwriting of the senior cat’s adoption fee touched the hearts of a visiting family who adopted the cat to provide it love and comfort in its few remaining years. Stories like these, along with the surprising number of youngsters who registered to run for orphan pets in last year’s race, prompted an additional focus on the younger set at this year’s event.

The event will include awards in new youth-ranked categories; a Best Group Kid-Costume Contest, with a winning pizza party prize-package including Helen Woodward Animal critters as special guests; as well as free puppy-dog face painting, make-and-take crafts, relay races, food and children-friendly entertainment.






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