Article Published: Sep. 6, 2012 | Modified: Sep. 9, 2012
When the Watauga Humane Society was founded in December 1969, it was comprised of rented land, two kennels and 10 members.
Now, the Watauga Humane Society is a green-friendly sprawling building, located on 13 acres of land on Paws Way in Boone.
Dee Dundon, early president of the Humane Society board, started the Dog Jog in the late 1990s as a society fundraiser.
The 12th annual Dog Jog will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8. The run is one mile and will be held at the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Complex. Registration begins at 10 a.m., and early registration will be held on Friday, Sept. 7, from 5 to 8p.m. at Sage Sports at the Boone Heights Mall. The price of registration is $25 or $20 for students and includes a commemorative T-shirt.
“When this started, it was the only Humane Society event where people could bring their dogs,” Rachel Jolly, one of the three current Dog Jog board members, said. “It was one of the few runs around where dogs were welcome, actually.”
Each year, the Dog Jog has seen up to 100 dogs, and the Humane Society hopes for 120 this year. Great Danes, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Newfoundlands have thundered the path along with Chihuahuas and poodles.
Though a dog is not required for participation, “if people want to come and don’t have one, they can call the shelter and reserve one,” Jolly said.
More vendors will be on the property than in previous years, selling pet-related goods and painting faces and paws. Contests, including the Dog/Owner Look Alike, Best Costume, Best Trick, Biggest Dog, Smallest Dog and Most Miles Traveled to Attend, will be held following the race, with prizes given to the winners.
Over the past 12 years, funds from the Dog Jog have gone to the same four needs – “food, shelter, medical care, and heat,” Jolly said.
The Watauga Humane Society’s foundation swelled in the early 1970s from the inclement Appalachian weather. At the time, the cost to spay or neuter an animal was higher, and the push to do so was less pertinent. The population of lost pets and strays was annually sickened or diminished by the winters – a brutal method of animal control.
Pat and Mike Cade moved to Boone shortly after the society’s meager beginning, and began hosting obedience classes, bi-annual rabies clinics and a spay and neuter campaign that drove down veterinarian costs.
Still, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, only 10 percent of animals accepted into humane societies are spayed or neutered.
In hopes of changing this average, the humane society offers a $30 special to spay and neuter and $8 for a rabies vaccination.
Also on Sept. 8, the society will host a fall plant sale of perennials, herbs and bulbs in the parking lot of Precision Printing, located at 1302 Blowing Rock Road in Boone, from 7 a.m. to noon.
Other fundraisers held by the Humane Society are the upcoming 15th annual Fur Ball at the Blowing Rock Country Club on Saturday, Sept. 15, along with Santa Paws and sales from the Bare Bones Boutique.
Humane Society Shelter at (828) 264-7865, or call Rachel Jolly at (828) 264-1053.