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Central Elementary students Haley Messer, Sarah Berry, Elizabeth Gobble and Maddie Nickles work on posters for the upcoming animal walk-a-thon.

County students lace up to lend a foot to pet causes

Published 7:38am Friday, April 25, 2014

Carter County students and community members will be hoofing it – or would it be “woofing” it? – during a walk-a-thon on Saturday to benefit several local pet charities.
The Carter Cares after school programs Girls of Grace and Boyz-2-Men will be sponsoring the fifth animal walk-a-thon on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. Money raised during the walk-a-thon will help support the Paws of Hope Animal Wellness Center, FurSuthernLuv Rescue and East Tennessee Spay and Neuter.
Animal Idol contests will be held for best-dressed dog, cutest dog, owner/dog look-alike contest and most talented pet. Door prizes will be available for human and dog/cat participants.
Carter Cares is open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and students from Happy Valley Middle School, Central Elementary, Valley Forge Elementary, Keenburg Elementary, Hunter Elementary, Unaka Elementary, Cloudland Elementary, Hampton Elementary and Little Milligan Elementary are participating in the walk-a-thon.
Central Elementary sixth-grade student Sarah Berry has been working on plans for the event and will be one of the students participating Saturday.
“I am excited because this event is raising donations for homeless animals served by FurSuthernLuv Rescue,” Berry said. “Over 10 million dogs are homeless in the United States, in which 50 percent never survive because they are euthanized, and Paws of Hope finds forever homes for dogs and never euthanize. So I am happy that we can raise money to support a great foundation like Paws of Hope and FurSuthernLuv Rescue.”
Haley Messer, also a sixth-grader at Central Elementary, is looking forward to the activities that will be a part of the walk-a-thon.
“We will be walking the trail for 3 miles for donations,” Messer said. “We will be having an Animal Idol Contest. The winners will receive a prize in each category. We would love for everyone to come support these dogs because all of us have a roof over our head and these homeless dogs deserve a roof over their heads.”
The walk-a-thon is a service learning project for the Carter Cares After School Program and is being organized by students who are a part of that program. After School Counselor Joy Scalf said the students have been working on projects focused on animals for many years.
The first years three years of the walk-a-thon, money raised went toward the building fund of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.
Last year, the walk-a-thon raised almost $1,000 for the new animal shelter. Scalf said the group’s goal is to raise more money and to have an even higher participation this year.
The event will be open to the public and all dogs and their owners are welcome to attend and walk. A donation will be appreciated for an entry fee for the walk and contests. Dogs that participate must be up-to-date on shots, flea treatments and be on a leash at all times.
Sponsors for the walk-a-thon are General Shale Brick, Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply of Elizabethton and Doggie Divas.

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