WILLIAMSTOWN -- Jumping for treats, leaping to meet a new friend or making a move on a prospective date, dozens of dogs entered the Berkshire Humane Society's Humane Race on Saturday in Williamstown.
When it was all over, Bailey, a 1 1/2-year-old schweenie (guided by her owner Brendan Gallivan), finished in front of the one-mile dog derby.
It might not have been worth the $2 million prize of the Kentucky Derby being held the same day, but Humane Race participants were raising money for a worthy cause, to assist the Berkshire Humane Society.
"Anything to support the community," Gallivan said.
Gallivan, who runs a local landscaping business, ran with his wife, Jamie Lynn, who accompanied 9-month-old Goose, a long-haired mini dachshund. Goose won the award for smallest dog in the race.
After the dogs and humans crossed the finish line, some territorial barking ensued and a few hounds gave each other a good close sniff. Employees from a local bank handing out treats found one eager dog jumping on their backs in a rush of excitement.
Melissa Bednarz, of Adams, brought her 5-year-old Parson Russell terrier and walked the mile course. "I just love animals," she said. Bednarz said the race was an opportunity to get some exercise, be outdoors and help the Humane Society.
As the day wound down, some curious dogs made their way to the food table and tried to make new friends, while others searched for water.
Dave Cota, 56, of Clarksburg, was with his 10-year-old Siberian husky Tasha. He sees the event as a socialization opportunity for her. "It allows her to get involved with other dogs," he said.
The two go hiking on the Appalachian Trail and have worked together with mentally disabled people. "They think she's a white wolf," he said.
The award for largest dog went to Shambles. Race director Christa Abel said she once ran into Shambles in the woods after hiking in Windsor, and thought he was a lion. After the festivities on Saturday, Shambles darted toward another dog for a sniff and was received by the canine rolling over.
Abel, who runs Bark N' Cat, a pet supply store in North Adams, said the event drew about 175 entrants and would likely raise around $10,000 for the BHS.
The BHS has about 15 dogs and 40 cats at a Pittsfield shelter, said volunteer coordinator Terry Bissaillon. They also operate a cat shelter in Great Barrington.
Jennifer Lyon, of Pittsfield, and her 9-year-old daughter Ella, helped serve lemonade to thirsty participants. Ella just joined Humane Heroes, to learn about how to take care of her pets, which include three fish, two hamsters and a 4-year-old dog named Cooper. She said she likes having pets because "they are really fun to play with and are nice to have in the house."
Naomi McCarthy, 23, of Williamstown, ran with her family's 11-month-old dog Benelli. They rescued the mixed-breed dog from Animal Farm Foundations. A former cross-country runner at Mount Greylock High School, this was McCarthy's first time participating in the event. "We're really saving a life by doing this," she said.
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