People, pups invited to participate in Paws for the Cause 5K

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

HOOVER – Those looking for a good reason to get out of the house on a Saturday morning can add “Paws for the Cause” to their calendars on Sept. 18.

After having to postpone this and other events because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Best Friends of Shelby Humane members are excited to have a firm date for the 2021 edition of Paws for the Cause, one of their main fundraisers for Shelby Humane Society.

“This is our fourth rescheduled date,” Best Friends of Shelby Humane Co-Chair Lacey Bacchus said. “We’re still hoping to have the attendance that we normally do at this event.”

Funds collected from event registrations and sponsorships help to defray unexpected expenses at the shelter, such as equipment replacements.

“All of the funds that we raise we then give to the shelter for specific projects or needs they have,” Bacchus said, noting the group recently purchased new sinks for one of the shelter’s puppy rooms. “We want to take away the expenses that are going to take away from their animal care.”

Paws for the Cause is a certified 5K off-road race at Veterans Park in Hoover.

The course takes participants around the lake and through tree-lined trails surrounding the park.

In addition to the 5K, Paws for the Cause includes the Tail Waggin’ Trek, a 1-mile obstacle fun run for individuals and teams.

Adults, children and dogs are welcome to participate, as all obstacles on the Trek are fun, animal-themed challenges suitable for all ages and anyone who can walk a mile.

Bacchus said the group has received “great feedback” on the Trek, which they added to the event in 2019.

“We just tried to give it a little extra something to distinguish it from other races around town,” Bacchus said. “It’s meant to be something that’s fun and memorable that they can do with their dogs.”

Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female runners from each age group—and to the fastest four-legged participant.

“We really pride ourselves on the race prizes for the 5K,” Bacchus said. “We also have a special prize for the fastest dog that crosses the finish line.”

As the only open-admission animal shelter in Shelby County, Shelby Humane cares for nearly 5,000 lost, homeless and unwanted pets each year.

Bacchus said adoptions increased last year, but the shelter’s staff faced challenges with maintaining operations and adoption viewings during the pandemic.

Event cancellations and postponements added another layer of concern regarding financial support for the shelter.

“That has definitely hurt from a fundraising capability, getting out into the community and having opportunities to connect with people,” Bacchus said.

Best Friends of Shelby Humane is a volunteer group and always welcomes new members.

For more information, email bestfriends@shelbyhumane.org.

To register for Paws for the Cause, or for more information, visit Runsignup.com/Race/AL/Birmingham/ShelbyHumaneSocietyPawsfortheCause.