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Is your dog your favorite running buddy? Are your long walks together the highlight of your day? Consider turning that shared love of exercise into a way to help other critters: Sign up for a run or walk that supports animal welfare. We've found five events whose proceeds go to animal charities or causes; all of them take place later this summer or early this fall, which gives you plenty of time to train. Best of all, some of these events will even let you bring Fido along to join in on the fun, so you can spend a nice day bonding and sweating — and raising money — with your best friend. So, really, there’s no excuse not to participate.
Who: Farm Sanctuary has rescued thousands of farm animals and runs the largest farm animal rescue and refuge in North America.
What it is: Walk for Farm Animals is a walk whose proceeds help the organization take proper care of and find homes for abused and neglected animals saved from factory farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses. Walk supporters also help Farm Sanctuary spread the message about the need for federal legislation to protect farm animals from cruelty.
Cool event detail: This year’s spokesman is actor and farm animal advocate Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones.
Where: Nationwide. Check the events page to find a walk near you.
When: September 8 to November 3
Who: PAWS Chicago is the city’s largest no-kill shelter. Since the shelter opened in 1997, PAWS Chicago has helped more than 20,000 animals find homes and has decreased the number of needless homeless pet euthanasias in the city by more than 50 percent.
What it is: All money raised by the 12th annual Run for Their Lives 8K Run/4K Walk will go to help PAWS Chicago save more homeless cats and dogs. Participating in the PAWS Chicago run and donating to the cause will help the organization reach its goal of making Chicago entirely no-kill in the next five years.
Cool event detail: If you can’t bring Fido along to run beside you in the race, he can still participate in spirit. Volunteers will make a button for you to wear if you bring a photo of your pet.
Where: Montrose Harbor, Chicago, Ill.
When: September 23
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