EVERETT - For many years the Bedford County Humane Society has relied upon an annual walk/run to raise awareness of their role in local animal welfare, and to gather precious dollars for the day-to-day care of those creatures.
The 2014 Furrie Skurry-Critter Crawl will be held May 18 at Pavilion No. 7 at Shawnee State Park in?Schellsburg.
Participants can register, receive a T-shirt and start walking at 1 p.m., rain or shine. The route is approximately 3.5 miles around the Lake Trail. Runners and walkers are welcome. If they choose to walk a dog, participants may bring their own leashed pets or call BCHS at 623-8968 in advance to walk a shelter dog.
Activities will include fun dog agility games at checkpoints along the trail, refreshments after the walk/run, face painting and games for kids, pet photos by John Soulnier Photography, a silent auction and recognition ceremony for top fundraisers.
This year's event is more significant than ever, due to imminent displacement of the organization's facility on Lutzville Road.
"In 2013, we received notification from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission that they would soon be taking a sizable portion of the property for expansion of the Turnpike," said Todd Gates, BCHS president. "That seizure will render the existing property too small to legally tend to the animal care needs of Bedford and Fulton counties, the areas served by BCHS."
A search was already underway for a potential new home for the shelter, but the Turnpike's mandate added urgency. The Board of Directors recently purchased ground on Bohn Road, just off of Route 220 North. Plans for a larger, more modern pet adoption center are progressing. However, bringing that project to fruition requires an ambitious capital-raising campaign, which is also in development.
"BCHS operates under a true no-kill business model," Gates said. "That means that we house about 35 dogs and 75 cats at any given time, a total of 650 or so in an average year, with many others in foster care. A new facility is essential, and we are counting on this year's Furrie Skurry-Critter Crawl to get the million dollar project off to a good start. Last year, the team approach and online registration/donation made the event very successful. This year we are hoping to bring in at least $10,000."
The theme of the event is "Teaming Up to Save 'Em All." It is especially fitting in the context of the BCHS no-kill philosophy, and considering the critical need for fundraising above and beyond normal operational expenses.
Joy Miller, a member of the BCHS board of directors, heads up the fundraising committee. She emphasized "We've made it easier than ever for individuals and teams to register at www.bchsonline.org. That saves time at the registration tent on the day of the event, and lets participants get started on the fun - walking and socializing with other pet lovers. Donations may also be made online through PayPal."
For more information or to learn about pet adoption and volunteerism opportunities, visit www.bchsonline.org or call the shelter at 623-8968.