First fun Doggie Dash 5K raises thousands for shelter enrichment program 

Now that the Doggie Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk is over, volunteer Emma Presberg says she has even more work to do — the best kind.

(Ben Kleppinger photo) Molly, a beagle mix who is a rescue from the Boyle County Humane Society, closes in on the finish line with her human, Karen Roper.

“I got some toys, treats, bubbles, spices and sprays, and created a schedule for giving enrichment,” the Centre College senior says. The race was something she created in order to fund an enrichment program she spearheaded for the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society, in order to help the dogs become even more adoptable than they already are.

“It was a great day for a race …” says Fizzy Ramsey, DBCHS’s board president. “Emma did a fabulous job organizing a well-attended event, filled with lovable dogs, a supportive community and ample volunteers. Here’s to keeping the tradition alive in the spirit of great volunteers, like Emma.”

Held Saturday, the dash had 68 participants (although 80 registered), and pulled in $2,108.63 — an amount which made Presberg use two exclamation points.

(Photo by Jana LaRue)
Emma Presberg and her dog, Banjo, at the Doggie Dash.

“That was along with the bake sale held on campus and the GoFundMe donations received,” she says. 

Presberg will be graduating with a bachelor’s in behavioral neuroscience and environmental studies, and also has a minor in biology. Being particularly interested in animal behavior, she’s been a volunteer at the shelter and completed research last summer on dogs there. Afterward, she came up with an enrichment program in order to help the animals with overall health, affecting their adoptability. 

But there was no money to fund the project. So she went to the DBCHS board and proposed a fundraiser. 

And — hopefully — now the Doggie Dash will become an annual fundraiser, Presberg says. “Even though I’m graduating, there are others who are coming in to take this over, and I really hope it does become an annual event.” 

The next step, she says, is to get more volunteers on board and to purchase more toys, especially puzzle feeders. 

“Once this happens, hopefully we will be able to get people going to the shelter every day and interacting with the dogs more,” she says. 

Presberg says extra T-shirts from the race are available, and being sold for $10, which will also go to fund the enrichment program. 

“I’m very grateful to all the volunteers and participants that came out, and especially grateful to the sponsors who helped us,” Presberg says. 

(Ben Kleppinger photo) Patricia Calvert and Sadie the Wonder Dog, a 3-year-old boxer-lab mix who is a rescue from the Boyle County Humane Society, were the second human-dog team to finish the 5K.