When hundreds of pet lovers gather for the start of the 3rd Annual Dog Days Half Marathon March 25 to raise funds for the Grand Bahama Humane Society, they’ll have the support of an international pet food education institution, organisers announced today.

“We are thrilled to announce that the Pet Food Institute based in Washington, D.C. has come on board to lend its support to the Dog Days Half Marathon and that PFI will be a gold sponsor of this important event,” said organizer Nikki Waugh. “We have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and community sponsorship, but are especially proud that such a trade association, whose message revolves around promoting long and healthy lives through proper nutrition, recognizes our effort to ensure pet health in the northern Bahamas.”

Created in 2015 as an 11th hour effort to resuscitate a half marathon which was announced, then cancelled shortly before it was set to take off, the run gained speed and momentum when it named the Grand Bahama Humane Society (GBHS) its beneficiary.

“The Dog Days Half Marathon helped rescue two causes with one idea, reviving a run on the streets of Grand Bahama and providing desperately-needed support for the Grand Bahama Humane Society,” said the Society’s Chairman Joe Darville. “We cannot thank the two women who have devoted so much time and effort to the cause, Nikki Waugh and Siobhan Antoni-Bates, enough.”

In the past two years, the race has raised more than $20,000, with the 2016 proceeds the single largest donation of the year for the animal protection group.

The first year drew about 150 persons. By 2016, the number jumped to more than 300 and organisers hope this year will attract as many as 500.

Next week’s race will mark a milestone.

“We have certified the half marathon course and we are now an internationally recognized race and the only one on Grand Bahama,” said Mrs. Antoni-Bates. Participants also have more choices – 10K, 5k, and a fun one-mile walk. Cash prizes are also larger, $1,000 each for male and female first place finishers of the half marathon, $500 each for second placers and $250 each for third place.

The Pet Food Institute, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year, began prepping for the race with a contest on its Facebook page more than a month before the event.

“We asked friends and followers to answer three questions related to pet health  — name one food that you should not feed your pet, one reason why bones are dangerous and one reason why you should not feed scraps to your pet,” said Mary Emma Young, Director of Communication. “We got excellent answers so it was encouraging to see how well-informed our Facebook friends were.”

Winning contestants received complimentary entry for the event.

The Pet Food Institute-Caribbean is a non-profit organisation that promotes initiatives to advance pet nutrition and the overall quality of pet food in The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, and Jamaica. For more information please visit www.pficaribbean.com, or to showcase the pets you love, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @pficaribbean.


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