On Sunday, May 16th, I ran the 99th annual Bay to Breakers race. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Bay to Breakers is a giant, moving party that travels 12 kilometers, or about 7.5 miles, from the Bay side of San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean. Many people, both runners and spectators, dress in costume (or wear nothing at all, but that’s another topic entirely) for the event, so NATURALLY, I used my costume to make a statement about something near to my heart: pet adoption.
I dressed as a cat, because cats have a hard time of it in shelters. They enter shelters at a higher rate than any animal and have a much, much smaller chance of being adopted than dogs. I specifically dressed as a black cat because black animals, both dogs and cats, are statistically much more likely to die in a shelter than animals of any other color. My costume read “ADOPT ME” in the front, and “SPAYED” in the back and, of course, sported the Adopt-a-Pet.com logo, so anyone seeing me run past would know exactly where to go to see photos of pets in their local shelters.
Running Bay to Breakers was an experience unlike any other I’d had. What an incredibly fun day. Best of all, though, I’d never been able to combine my love of running with my passion for pet adoption in such a tangible way before. Each person who saw me run past and yelled out, “Yay, Adoption!” or read my shirt out loud and laughed made me feel as if I were making at least a little difference in the lives of shelter pets…those innocent beings waiting patiently for their cage door to open and loving arms to take them in. After all, we do what we can. If you can be a rescuer, great. If you can’t, then adopt a pet. If you can’t adopt a pet, foster a pet. If you can’t foster a pet, volunteer at your shelter. If you can’t volunteer, make a donation of supplies or money to your local shelter or rescue group. If you can’t do any of that, then TwitterACritter (well, do that anyway). Whatever your circumstance, though, you can do what I did and simply spread the word that adopting a pet is the right thing to do and the very best way to add a pet to your family.
This photo, by the way, is me crossing the finish line. I was sad it was over, but I’m already looking forward to next year…and thinking about an even better, more effective costume to make my statement.