McKamey marks 5th anniversary with K-9k

At the K-9k Trail Run this weekend, runners must power through by placing one foot after another. Or, in the case of some, one paw after another … after another and then another.

In celebration of its fifth anniversary, McKamey Animal Center is hosting the inaugural trail run Saturday, June 29 at Dupont Park and Invista for both humans and dogs alike at any fitness level. The event includes a 13.1-mile run, a 9-kilometer run and a 5k Dog Walk/Jog, with the race course designed by Wild Trails, an organization that promotes the use, expansion and protection of trails in the area.

“There are people that specifically travel around and do half marathons with their dogs,” said McKamey Executive Director Karen Walsh. “Whatever your fitness level is, you can run [in the K-9k] with or without your dog.”

She does advise that if a pet is not used to a rigorous half marathon or 9k run, attendees may want to stick to the 5k walk.

The run is being coupled with a Cool Down party for runners and those just there to cheer on others and celebrate McKamey’s anniversary. The party includes a picnic with hamburgers and veggie burgers grilled to order plus drinks. Tours of the animal center and features of adoptable pets will also be available during the event.

“It’s amazing we’ve been here for five years,” said Walsh. “We are completely different than we were when we opened. We now have so much support both locally and nationally; we are able to offer so many programs that help save lives.”

McKamey does a lot more than just take in animals, she noted. Training classes and seminars are often offered at the center as well as spay and neuter services, among others. The facility is also educational, training licensed veterinary medical technicians for Chattanooga State and offering veterinary student externships for the University of Tennessee, Auburn University, the universities of Florida and Georgia and Louisiana State University.

The center also serves as the Pet Food Bank for Chattanooga and provides a weekly rabies clinic and microchipping pet identification services.

Walsh said the stereotypical stigma of an animal shelter being a “sad” place does not apply at McKamey.

“Come and see for yourself that we are not a sad place,” she said. “We are a place that gives second chances. Building an animal shelter is a nice resource, but people have to use that resource.”

The June 29 event begins at 5 p.m. at McKamey, 4500 N. Access Road. Registration for the run is $35. For more information, to register or find out about adoption specials running through June, visit mckameyanimalcenter.org.

Email Kelsie Bowman at kbowman@timesfreepress.com