SOUTHINGTON - The second annual Layza‚Äôs Run for Rescue comes to the Mount Southington Ski Area on Sept. 17, offering dogs and their owners the opportunity to run side by side to benefit the Best Friends for Life Animal Rescue.
The event starts at 8 a.m. at the ski area, 396 Mount Vernon Road, with a ‚Äúblessing of the animals‚ÄĚ by Rev. Gary DeRosa of Higher Ground Christian Church.
The races, a 5K and a 10K, will then begin at 8:30 a.m., running straight along Mount Vernon Road toward Lincoln College and then heading back. Participants can run with their dogs or by themselves.
The event will also include T-shirts and prizes, including gift cards and trophies, awarded to men and women competing in several age classes.
‚ÄúI do a lot of runs and it is pretty unique to have a run/walk that people can do with their dogs,‚ÄĚ said Tony Bagliore, the race organizer. ‚ÄúIt didn‚Äôt start out that way, but last year a lot of people came with their dogs.‚ÄĚ
Proceeds will support Best Friends for Life, a local network of 10 foster homes that Bagliore said was founded in 2002 and helps to place 100 dogs each year in loving homes.
The money raised will cover medical bills and food for the dogs.
‚ÄúWe started off small, working with local shelters in New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport,‚ÄĚ said Bagliore. ‚ÄúNow we are working with a lot of southern shelters where there are a lot of highly adoptable dogs that are being euthanized. We would like to work toward setting up educational programs with the schools where we‚Äôll teach that people are the problem, not the dogs.
‚ÄúPeople need to be responsible enough to understand that when they are taking in a dog, it is a 15-year commitment. Pets are not disposable. That is why we have people who adopt from us sign ‚Äėpromise to my pet‚Äô paperwork.‚ÄĚ
Bagliore said he has received a donation from local police officers and American Medical Response has donated use of an ambulance during the event. Stop & Shop has donated apples and oranges and Fancy Bagels will provide bagels.
People are welcome to donate gift cards and prizes and sponsorship opportunities are also available.
Bagliore added that Best Friends for Life Animal Rescue is ‚Äúalways looking for more volunteers.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt is hard to find good foster homes and we hope that this event will be a good way to put ourselves out there for the community and to help educate people about the issue,‚ÄĚ said Bagliore.
The cost to participate is $27 for the 5K race or $32 for the 10K.
To register, visit racemenu.com/rescue. For more information, call Bagliore at 860-747-5412 or search for Best Friends for Life Animal Rescue on Facebook.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.