Registration has opened for dogs and their human companions to enter the Sixth Annual Community Paws Event, to be held April 19 at Sycamore Park.
The event, which features a 5K run and a one-mile walk, raises money for pilot dogs and is sponsored by the Pickerington Lions Club.
“A pilot dog is basically a seeing-eye dog for the blind which has been trained at the Ohio Lions Pilot Dog facility in downtown Columbus,” said Pickerington Lions President Brian Fox.
Ohio Lions founded the facility in 1950. The program provides dogs to those who need them for free. The cost of training the dogs and the cost of equipment are covered by donations.
“Helping the blind and the sight-impaired is one of the major focuses of the Lions,” Fox said. “It’s one of the main reasons we exist.”
Participants can register for the run or the walk online at www.PickeringtonLions.com, or they may register at 11 am the day of the event.
The 5K begins at 1 pm, and the walk begins at 2 pm.
“This is a dog-friendly event,” Fox said. “We encourage racers to bring their dogs and run with them!”
Trophies and other prizes will be awarded to the winners, including a gift certificate for the best-dressed dog. All participants will be entered into a raffle.
The price to enter the 5K is $25 per person, and the price is $15 to register for the one-mile walk.
In addition to the timed races, the Community Paws Event will have local photographers on hand to take pictures of participants with their pets and there will be a food truck. Participants will also have the opportunity to watch demonstrations from the Pilot Dogs program and RentaSky Media, which operates commercial drones.
In past years, the event has raised an average of $2,500. It costs approximately $10,000 to raise and train a pilot dog.
“We are hoping to increase that big-time this year,” Fox said.