April 26, 2004

K-9K Walks Dogs for Charity

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Cornell Companions hosted its second annual dog walk-a-thon, called the K-9 K, at the Cornell Plantations this Saturday. Cornell Companions is a pet visitation program that brings animals to nursing homes, juvenile detention centers and other special-needs facilities to promote the benefits of the human-animal bond.

“It started off as an idea to have some sort of social activity, while doing good deeds at the same time,” said Lina Mohamed grad, assistant to the director of Cornell Companions. “Our group consists of several teams, and these teams don’t interact very much between each other. So this was a good way to get everyone involved and together.”

As with last year’s event, this year’s started with a walk for dogs, their owners, and other animal lovers around the plantations. After the walk, dogs and people found a wide range of activities that weren’t available at last year’s K-9 K.

“This year we included a carnival with prizes, raffles and face painting,” said Madlin Kluger ’06, community outreach co-chair for Cornell Companions and volunteer coordinator for the K-9 K.

The carnival featured contests that dogs and their owners were able to enter, including a dog talent show and a “balance the biscuit” contest. Prizes for the raffle were merchandise and gift certificates that had been donated to the event by various local businesses.

Kluger said that visitors also had the opportunity to have their photos taken with llamas and dogs who are a part of the Cornell Companions program.

“Next year we hope to make it even bigger and better,” she added. Cornell Companions, which is sponsored by the vet school, was also interested in organizing an event that would allow undergraduates in the program to provide some input.

“A lot of [undergrads] don’t have pets, so it’s sometimes hard for them to feel like they’re a member of the program. So we thought we’d give them something really great to do,” Mohamed said. All of the proceeds from the event will go to Animal Aid of Cortland, an organization that spays and neuters local animals.

“I think this is a marvelous event,” said Fran Uhlir, president of Animal Aid of Cortland. “Busy college students are taking time out of their lives and studies. The responsibility and concern about taking care of animals that is shown by participants here is admirable.”

According to Mohamed, last year’s K-9 K raised about $2,000, and this year she expected the number to be well over $2,500, due in part to the sunny weather this Saturday, which attracted many participants. Last year the weather was overcast and drizzling. Kluger said that the K-9 K turned an otherwise mundane activity into a fun event.

“A lot of these people are going to be walking their dogs anyway, so now they get to walk their dogs for a cause,” she said. Mohamed concurred.

“I’m glad that we gave the Cornell community an animal-related fund-raising event,” she said. “It gives people another kind of charity to think about.”

Archived article by Andrew Beckwith
Sun Staff Writer