Walkin’ and waggin’

CANBY – It wasn’t your typical racing scene. As people in running gear began gathering in Canby’s Central Park on Saturday morning, there were fewer stretches and warm-up exercises than there were tail wags and ear scratches.

It was all because the Paws for the Cause 5K event was open to four-legged participants as well as human ones. A total of 36 people, and about 10 dogs, took part in the run/walk to help raise money for a new animal rescue organization in the Canby area.

The Safe Animal Rescue and Humane Society already has its first dog up for adoption. The dog, a friendly dachsund mix named Pumpkin, was busy greeting 5K participants as they came up to the registration table on Saturday. However, rescue founder Sarah Thorsteinson said she needed help to raise money for supplies and to build a shelter building and kennels.

Thorsteinson said the inspiration to form an animal rescue came from a couple of different places. For one, she’s always been interested in animals.

“When I was young, I brought home stray dogs and asked to keep them,” Thorsteinson said. Another big part the idea to start the Safe Animal Rescue came from her niece, Libby Nemitz. “She was at her grandma’s, and she saw an ASPCA commercial on T.V. and asked, ‘Can I call?'”

Thorsteinson said Libby and her friends have always been concerned about animals around Canby too, and it got her thinking about doing something to help. There wasn’t a humane society in the area, and local law enforcement would have to take stray dogs they picked up to a shelter in Watertown, S.D.

Thorsteinson’s family supported her idea to form an animal rescue, and the rescue officially opened on Oct. 14. The Canby City Council also agreed to bring strays to the Safe Animal Rescue.

But Thorsteinson said she’d also like to build a more official shelter building.

“Right now it’s just makeshift,” located in an old hog barn on her family’s property, Thorsteinson said. And of course, pet food and other supplies will also be needed.

The Paws for the Cause walk/run was one of several fundraising events Thorsteinson planned. She’s already held a bake sale, and coming up in early December will be another event featuring games of bingo and a barbecue supper.

“I want to work with area businesses to donate prizes,” Thorsteinson said.

“I know I have to keep the fundraisers going. Usually what happens is there’s a lot of interest at first,” and then the public’s attention tends to decrease, she said.

More information on the Safe Animal Rescue and Humane Society can be found online at the organization’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/canbyrescue.