By Megan Rule | Staff Writer
The fourth annual Fuzzy Friends Rescue Zombie Run will take off at 5 p.m. Saturday in downtown Waco. The event will help Fuzzy Friends Rescue with their purpose of providing shelter, food and medical treatment to animals.
“I’m excited for the turnout,” said Denise Gay, race director and volunteer with Fuzzy Friends Rescue. “I’m very pleased that we will have a big turnout in the community to support Fuzzy Friends Rescue. Animals don’t have a voice, and we, as humans, are their voice.”
According to Gay, this is the shelter’s largest race ever with over 300 participants already signed up.
Betsy Robinson, founder and executive director of Fuzzy Friends Rescue, said there have been animal support runs for a number of years, but after hearing the idea of themed runs taking place across the country, the shelter decided to participate. The event includes a 1K pet walk and a 5K run, as well as contests for best dog zombie costume, dog with the “waggiest” tail and best dog trick. There are also prizes for the best human zombie costume and medals for the top three runners in each age group, as well as an Academy Sports+Outdoors gift card for the overall male and female race winners.
“It’s the theme that distinguishes our run from the other runs. It makes it unique and different,” Robinson said. “So, we encourage people to dress up like zombies, and those that are doing the 1K pet walk to dress their dogs up like zombies also.”
Fuzzy Friends Rescue will continue to take registration the day of the event starting at 4 p.m. Packet pickup will be from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Spice Village. The 5K will start at 5 p.m., and the 1K pet walk will start at 5:10 p.m.
“It’s a fun event for folks to bring their dogs to participate, and it’s a fun family event too,” Robinson said. “It’s a fun event to bring awareness to the community for the lovely animals in Waco that deserve the second chance to be adopted.”
In addition to this zombie run, Fuzzy Friends Rescue also does a style show in the spring and a “Barkin’ Ball” on New Year’s Eve as fundraisers. Along with the run and walk, there will be fitness vendors and pet supply vendors at the race. Coca Cola is the official beverage sponsor, and there will also be chili cheese dogs while supplies last, Robinson said. Gay said there is a lot of support from the local radio and television stations, and people walking around downtown usually stop by to see what’s happening.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds stay in the community and go back to Fuzzy Friends Rescue to help support their mission,” Gay said. “We’re excited our run is turning out so well because there are so many this month.”
Robinson said Fuzzy Friends Rescue could be home to about 150 cats and dogs at any given time. Fuzzy Friends Rescue is a no-kill shelter. Robinson said Fuzzy Friends Rescue goes the distance to do whatever is necessary to get animals healthy and ready for adoption. Robinson also said Fuzzy Friends Rescue plays a vital role in helping the city of Waco go no-kill by taking animals from the city shelter almost every week.
“The full-time staff really knows a lot about the individual animals; their personalities, what they like, what they don’t like. They really care about them on all levels,” said Frederick, M.D., sophomore Laura Casadonte, a Fuzzy Friends Rescue volunteer.