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Rain AND Shine: A big turnout to help raise more than $201,000 in 21st Annual Dog Jog, 5k and Block Party, presented by Holiday Barn Pet Resorts

Posted on Monday, April 03, 2023
collage of images from the 2023 Dog Jog, 5K and Block Party

Everyone knows March weather “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb,” but on Saturday March 25, the old saying rang true over the span of just seven hours. Before noon, 496 humans braved the rain to participate in the 5K, sponsored by Williams Mullen, and 439 dogs brought their families along for the 1-mile Dog Jog, sponsored by Apex Systems, a division of AGSN, Inc. In all, 1,027 participants registered for one of Saturday’s events, which the return of the Little Paws Fun Run for the second year, featuring runners between the ages of 4 and 10 years old and generously sponsored by RVA Pediatrics. Each race kicked off and ended at our CoStar Group-sponsored start and finish line.

The Center for Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine sponsored the Runner Recovery Tent, providing water, fruit and fuel to all our race participants. Our course was in tip-top shape thanks to Clean Course Sponsor Tredegar. Registration was made possible thanks to a generous sponsorship and matching gift partnership with James River Air Conditioning Co. and prizes for our top runners were courtesy of our good friends at Fleet Feet.

For the first time, the fun continued into the afternoon with the addition of our Block Party, which was free thanks to our friends at Moore Subaru. Willa and Nita, companions to Joe and Deanna Moore and Richmond SPCA mascots, made an appearance as well. The sun eventually came out for our Block Party, just in time for our bands, an excuse to cool down with a cocktail from Tito’s Vodka, and some shopping in our outdoor marketplace.

Entertainment Sponsor Invisible Fence Brands of Richmond-Virginia helped us welcome Asking for Flowers and Geek RVA to the stage as our entertainment during the block party. Throughout this family-friendly event, canine companions were encouraged to try their paws at agility and tricks in our Pets Fun Zone while Genworth generously sponsored activities for children in the Kids Fun Zone.

Altogether participants, sponsors, vendors, fundraisers and raffle ticket purchases helped raise nearly $202,000 for vulnerable pets in the care of the Richmond SPCA. The raffle, sponsored by NDSE, was the most popular Dog Jog Raffle to date, featuring beach getaways, appliances, and Broadway Under the Stars tickets.

Our enormous thanks go to top individual fundraisers and Richmond SPCA Green Team volunteers Dana Taylor, Stephen Carter and Leanne Battle. Team Running Buddies broke their own record, bringing in a jaw-dropping $27,000 and once again securing their place as lead group fundraisers and pet-lovers extraordinaire. Their dedication to this event, and to the pets in our care every day, fills our hearts with both gratitude and inspiration.

The success of this beloved event would not have been possible without the hard work of event chair Julie Thomas. Julie spent countless hours securing prizes, promoting sponsorships and inspiring an amazing committee of pet lovers with her dedication to our mission. She showed up Saturday ready to break all fundraising goals for this event and pounded the pavement with her favorite Richmond SPCA alumnus, Zeke Lajoie (full disclaimer of the author’s bias) and a donation bucket. We are grateful to Julie for her enthusiasm and determination, and proud to report that she indeed helped to raise more for this event than any Dog Jog before it. Congratulations and thank you, Julie!

Our deepest thanks go to our dear friends at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts who once again sponsored this day. Their commitment to animal welfare in Richmond is commendable and includes their staff and team members who volunteer to make this joyful event possible. We are grateful to all of you.

And finally, on behalf of the staff, board, the pets in our shelter and patients in our Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital, our deepest thanks go to all of you who secured or made cash sponsorships, donated prizes or raffle items, formed corporate or family/friend teams, made donations, fundraised, registered, sponsored our staff and volunteers to participate, encouraged your friends to sign up, sold or bought raffle tickets, volunteered the day of the event and more. With your enormous help, we raised crucial funds to save the lives of pets throughout our community and to deliver essential services to the people who love them. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you did to make this year’s Dog Jog, 5K and Block Party a success.

Want to do it again next year!? We do!

See and download more photos from this year’s event, all courtesy of our talented photography volunteers. When sharing, please credit photographer named in the image title on our SmugMug gallery.

Carol Anne Lejoie and her dog Zeke
Carol Anne and Zeke

Carol Anne Lajoie serves as our chief advancement officer, overseeing fundraising activities for the Richmond SPCA. Her passions include Bruce Springsteen, making up songs about her dogs and being around smart women. She lives with her husband, adopted dogs and a flock of highly demanding chickens in North Chesterfield.

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