Dogs jog in Humane Race

There are few better ways to spend a springtime morning than out in the fresh air, under an unblemished sky with Fido at your heel – especially if doing so contributes to the construction of an all-new home for the Berkshire Humane Society (BHS), which broke ground not long ago in Pittsfield. On Saturday, 70 runners registered to run in the first annual Humane Race, also known as “the Dog Jog,” a 5-kilometer run held at Mt. Greylock Regional High School and sponsored by a plethora of Williamstown businesses. Williams students, faculty and staff made a strong showing as both volunteers and runners, taking many of the top prizes in the race.

Rick Spalding, chaplain to the College, presented the awards after the race. Aaron Magid ’04, a member of the cross country team, crossed the finish line first with a time of 19:41, and won a gift certificate for a room and continental breakfast for two at Porches Inn in North Adams.

Jonathan Dowse ’06 took third place overall and first place in the men’s 13-19 year old category with a time of 21:40, and Vanessa Badino ’06 came in with a time of 30:18, earning first place in the women’s 13-19 year old category; each first-year was awarded two Jiminy Peak Universal Packs, which includes access to the Alpine Slide, trout fishing and the Euro-Bungy Trampoline.

In additiona, Hunter Greene ’02, along with his friend’s German Shepard mix Bongo, won the Waggin’ Tails Wellness Challenge; they were the first human-and-dog pair to cross the finish line in less than 30 minutes. In Greene’s honor, Waggin’ Tails, an online pet-food retailer, donated 375 pounds of dog food to the BHS.

The BHS has been the only animal shelter in the area since 1993; in 2001 alone, the BHS was responsible for placing nearly 1,000 dogs, cats, ferrets and other companions in permanent homes. The new BHS building, toward which the $3,000 raised Saturday will go, features a gallery for viewing the animals, quarantine areas to curb the spread of diseases and rooms for “getting acquainted” with a potential new pet.

Alix and Brian Cabral, an enthusiastic pair of animal lovers from Williamstown, developed the idea of a race to promote awareness of the BHS and fundraise for the new building, which should be completed by June.

Alix, a newly-elected member of the Board of Directors at the BHS, had nothing but praise for the College in their support of and help with the race.

A few months ago, Brian Eng ’97 suggested to the Cabrals that they consider approaching the Lehman Community Service Council, which ended up allowing the BHS to tap into the College’s resource of animal-loving volunteers.

The event attracted approximately 70 runners, many of whom brought their dogs and families out for support. Registering to race cost between $10 and $18, depending on age and whether the runner would be accompanied by a dog. “We raised about $3,000 which will go directly to the fund for the new shelter. Another $2,000 was raised in-kind, included the prizes we gave away, the Wellness dog food from Waggin’ Tails that was donated to the shelter and the Chaplain’s donation to pay for the T-shirts,” Cabral said.

Elizabeth Hewett ’06, Justin Lavner ’06 and Vanessa Badino ’06 worked with Lehman and the CLCs to advertise the race and promote the BHS on campus.

Dining Services also donated food for the picnic after race, which featured the local cover band Subject To Change.

In addition to the College and Mt. Greylock, top sponsors included Greylock Animal Hospital, Williamstown Physical Therapy, Marianne McDonough and Associates Real Estate, West Oil and The Porches Inn.