Action for Animals


According to the National Pet Owners Survey completed by APPMA’s in 2005 and 2006, 63% of US households own a pet. That is the same as saying over 69 million homes had a pet in 2005/2006. With that in mind, I feel free to say that many Americans love pets. That is easy to see in this year’s Action for Animals Annual 5K Walk. Held on September 18, 2010, the event had a record breaking number of participants. Besides the fact that so many Americans are animal lovers, it is easy to see why there were so many participants; there were a ton of activities dealing with both animals and humans alike.

The event officially started at 10:30, with a blessing of the pets, but many participants arrived earlier to sign in. Preregistration costed $15 or you could register the day of the walk for $25. After registration and the blessing, conveyed by Kathy Newill, a member of the executive board, the race finally began. Many participants, most with their dogs, walked around Hempfield Park in order to raise money for the animals from their pledges.

There was a dog spa station which allowed owners to learn how to give their own dogs spas regularly. There were also caricatures. Many participants, along with their pets, had a caricature created for themselves.  A particular favorite was of a middle-aged lady with medium blonde hair. She was holding her very miniature dog and smiling as if she could light up the sun. Her face was of true enjoyment.

Many viewers were shown examples of K-9s at work and were taught how K-9’s do their job during the K-9 demonstrations. One example was in a closed off area. The K-9 officers left a sample scent that one of their dogs had to pick up on. The dog went around the square coned off area, on top of the grassy, green hill where the audience members were viewing, until it found the scent.

After the demonstrations of the K-9’s, you could walk over to the agility demonstrations. For these demonstrations, the dogs had to go through a course, as if at a dog show. Each dog had to go into tunnels, go over bridges, jump through hoops, go over see-saws, listen to their master’s command and, hardest of all, ignore the many distractions of viewers, animals, and distracting sounds. Most of the dogs stayed on course listening to their commands, but some could not avoid the distractions and went under the caution tape to the viewers. At the end of the well-trained dog’s demonstrations, all participants were welcomed to have their dogs attempt these obstacles. The dogs were allowed to try the easier of the activities, but were cautioned to avoid the harder ones, like the see-saw and high bridge.

After these demonstrations, there were still many activities. There were walk prizes which the walkers with the most pledges won. Shortly following the prizes, there was ‘goofy games.’ The final event of the afternoon was the announcing of the Chinese auction winner s. Though there were many activities that constantly kept contestants busy, there were still many other things to do around the park. There were tables set up, such as the ‘Good Cause’, AFA, and the ‘Ask the Vet’ table. There was also a table for PASART (Pennsylvania state animal response team) with a lot of information on how to be prepared for emergencies and how to volunteer. One final booth was the food booth, were many hungry participants filed in to fill their hungry stomachs. All in all, the day was filled with many activities so that participants were never bored.

Whatever species you are, be it human or canine, the events at this year’s Action for Animals Walk were enjoyable. The weather turned out to be perfect with the sun shining and a slight breeze. There were so many activities to do for everyone that no one could have ever been bored.  Rachel Stauffer, race participant and member of Greater Latrobe High School, stated, “The human society is an amazing organization because everything they do is for the right reasons. There was a loving bond between the participants and their pets that day at the race.”