In second year, SPCA expects more in Run for the Rescues

SUWANEE -- When the first Run for the Rescues was held last year, organizers hoped for 100 particpants. After 700 showed up, it was labeled a runaway success.

That's why on March 24, the Georgia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has raised its hopes to 1,000 runners in the 5K event at 9 a.m. at Town Center Park. A fun run begins at 8:30 a.m. Raffle prizes, 55 vendors, three food vendors, and trophies and awards for dogs and people will be handed out. Microchipping and and on-site adoptions will also be available. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the nonprofit organization.

Families like the Quinns will participate with a dog they adopted from the SPCA.

"It supports a great cause and provides so much for our little furry friends who are being cared for by wonderful volunteers at the shelter," Carla Quinn said. "Bella will join our family ... We are looking forward to running the race and admiring all the wonderful cats and dogs."

Carla and Richard Quinn, and their daughter Madeline, adopted a husky the family named Bella that Carla described as "beautiful, striking, sweet, (and) pure white."

Quinn said that Bella fit in so well they adopted a cat, Mason, and Madeline now volunteers at the shelter.

The Quinns have something in common with Michelle Williams, who volunteered at the shelter for about two and a half years. Williams has eight dogs, and has adopted three from the SPCA.

When Williams volunteered at the SPCA, she said it was normal for her to stop in at 10 p.m. to walk dogs on the weekend, knowing it had likely been a while since they were out of their cage.

Before last year's Run for the Rescues, Williams was recruited to run in the race, and ran with five of her dogs.

One of the dogs, Sammy, had trouble focusing on the run. But the others had a steely-eyed focus, which Williams said is crucial when running with five dogs.

"The other ones, a bomb could explode, and they would go over the bomb," she said.

Because she's witnessed what SPCA does first hand, Williams said she's promoted the event to family, friends and business clients.

"I want to help them expand, and the more exposure they get, maybe more adoptions (will result)," Williams said.

To sign up, visit active.com. Cost is $15 for the fun run and $25 for the 5K.

There's an early bag pick up on Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. at Big Peach Running Company at Town Center Park.