RALEIGH — A pack of soggy-pawed dogs trotted, sniffed and barked their way down the course at Saturdays Irondog race, a fundraiser to help people pay for pet care at the Veterinary Health Complex at the N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine.
Nearly 200 people and dozens of dogs braved the rain to participate in a humans-only 5K or a 1-mile dog walk at the N.C. Museum of Art. The race proceeds go to the health complexs Irondog fund, which provides $500 grants to qualified families to help pay for their pets care.
The second annual event drew animal lovers from all over the Triangle along with dogs of all shapes and sizes: basset hounds, retrievers, corgis, pinschers, German shepherds, terriers and more.
Laura Tweed, a veterinary technician who lives in Raleigh, walked with her dog Jo-Jo, a corgi mix in a red raincoat, and a friends dog, Taylor, a cocker spaniel sporting purple-and-pink plaid.
Ive seen it from both sides being a client and someone who provides care and any money you can donate really does help people who cant afford veterinary care, she said.
The fund got its start last year when Marcia Backstrom, an N.C. State veterinary intern from Michigan, suggested the Veterinary Health Complex begin its own chapter of Irondog, which is in its third year at Michigan State University.
I thought Id try it and see how it went, just to support the clients and help more pets, she said. Its been fun.
Backstrom, who now practices emergency veterinary medicine in Michigan, drove to Raleigh for the race and took home first place among the veterinarians who competed.
Karen and Carl Newton also were there with their dog, Tucker, who wore a white T-shirt announcing his status as the first recipient of a Veterinary Health Complex Irondog grant.
In June, the family rushed Tucker to the veterinary hospital with vomiting and extreme weakness. The veterinarians quickly diagnosed him with Addisons disease, a condition that causes the adrenal glands to malfunction.
The costs of his care escalated into the thousands of dollars, and the Newtons said the Irondog grant helped lessen the financial and emotional burden on them.
When youre a dog owner, youre at that point of how much can you afford before you cant afford it, said Karen. If its a treatable disease, you dont want to have to make a really tough decision.
Since Tucker started treatment, Carl said hes been a healthy, happy, shedding dog and the Newtons wanted the race participants to be able to see what theyre supporting.
Heres what the cause is, he said, holding Tuckers leash. Heres what youre running for.