Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Subaru’s inaugural Paddle for Puppies kicked off Sunday with plenty of energy from the crowd. As paddlers and their pups lined up to enter the water, there was lots of excitement in the air. With more than 100 participants in attendance, including the four-legged friends, the turnout was wonderful.
Kristina Jakstas, APA Outreach Coordinator, was happy with the number of people that came out for the event, despite the rain the night before. Jakstas had volunteered with APA! for about two years before moving into her position as outreach coordinator.
The goal of the event was to raise funds and awareness for the Parvo Program at Austin Pets Alive! For the program, the number of puppies APA can help is solely based on the donations they receive. Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that infects rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract, and it can easily be prevented through vaccination.
Before the event started, paddlers and their canine companions made their way to the water, trying to figure out the perfect way to complete the five-mile course, starting and ending right under the Ann Richards/South Congress Bridge. Along the way, there were several water and rest stops. Unlike some races, this one was more about enjoying the company of man’s best friend and fellow dog lovers, rather than being the fastest.
After the race, participants were able to relax and enjoy the cool breeze. Though she didn’t bring her dog, Austinite Aaren Grimes enjoyed seeing the other dogs interact with each other. Grimes noted that this is definitely an event she would participate in again. She is a big fan of APA! and knows the money is going to a worthy cause.
As the band welcomed back the paddlers, APA! had some dogs walking around that were up for adoption. Soon all the dogs started playing together for what was a doggone good time.