BY OLIVIA MURRELL – STAFF WRITER
As spring finally comes to Danville, Emma Presberg’s mind is on the upcoming Doggie Dash, the 5K run/walk benefitting the Danville and Boyle County Humane Society (DBCHS). Presberg, a senior Environmental Studies and Behavioral Neuroscience double major, is currently working on an enrichment program for the humane society and is the main organizer of the 5K.
The enrichment program, which ties together Presberg’s interests in environmental studies and animal behavior, began as her capstone project for her Environmental Studies senior seminar. It aims to improve the quality of life of the animals, as well as help provide the humane society with more resources and help. Presberg plans to continue working with animal behavior and animal enrichment programs post-graduation.
“The 5K, started because I was thinking of possible fundraisers for the enrichment program,” Presberg said. “I wanted to do something that could reach a broad audience and helped raise awareness, not just funds. I also didn’t want to do a standard fundraiser. I wanted to make it fun.”
Presberg’s love of animals was a driving factor in creating the enrichment program that aims to improve the lives of the dogs and cats at the humane society, and the 5K is a fun and inclusive way to help achieve these goals. Not only can pet owners and animal lovers run, but dogs can run/walk alongside their owners, too.
Paige Matthews, Executive Director of DBCHS says that Presberg has a true servant’s heart and a love for animals. “I cannot express what a joy it has been to have Emma helping out at DBCHS…there has been a lot of talk over the years about putting together a run for the community to raise money for DBCHS and the way Emma has come in and organized it has been so impressive,” she said.
Junior Colleen Coyle is the incoming President of Centre PAWS, the on-campus organization that works closely with DCBHS. “It’s been truly amazing to watch Emma work so hard to bring about the 5k and the enrichment program. As an organization we are very lucky to benefit from her leadership,” she said. Referencing Presberg’s imminent graduation, she continued, “Centre PAWS hopes to continue the work started by Emma and make these programs a central part of our Centre experience.”
This has not only been a tremendous growth experience for DBCHS but also for Presberg. “Seeing the Danville and Centre community come together to support an issue that I am so passionate about has been absolutely amazing,” she said. “I have received so much support from people at the humane society as well as people in Danville saying that what I am doing is so important and beneficial and it makes all the hours and stress worth it being able to see the change I am making.”
Community involvement in the 5K has been a huge contributing factor to the success of the event. The Centre community is always trying to find ways to connect with the Danville community, and this 5K brings the two together to benefit the humane society, which in turn serves both Centre and Danville.
Staci Garlough, a community member who is signed up to run the 5K and is also a sponsor of the event, says that she was excited to sign up for the Doggie Dash and help out in any way she could. “My two passions in life are animals and fitness…All of my pets have been adopted from various animal shelters. I am convinced that the best pets come from shelters!” she said.
She went on to say that it is always important to support causes you believe in, and that Boyle County is fortunate to have a great local humane society. And because the humane society benefits so many people and animals, it is a cause that many community members are eager to support.
The Doggie Dash 5K is the first 5K benefitting the humane society, and will take place on April 28 at Millennium Park. The race begins at 8:30 a.m. and will last until around noon. The humane society will be out at the event and have dogs that are up for adoption. Participants are also welcome to bring their dogs to run or walk alongside them. Presberg’s mom and dog will both be joining her at the event. There will also be other activities going on, like a photo booth, for extra fundraising.
All the funds go towards the DBCHS enrichment program.
Have questions or want to sign up to run or walk? Contact Emma Presberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the link here to sign up. Entry fee is $30 before the event and $35 the day of. Registration also includes a tee-shirt and a participation goodie bag that will include fliers and coupons from the sponsors.
DBCHS hopes to see you there!