The Things We Do for Love: “We Run Races to Help Pets”
Caroline Golon, the human behind popular humor blog Romeo the Cat, shares stories of pet owners who have gone the extra mile for their pets in this series, The Things We Do for Love.
Traci LaVallee and her husband, Brendan Snodgrass, weren’t avid runners, but a last-minute invitation for LaVallee to run the New York City Half Marathon for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) changed that. Since last spring, “Team Snodvallee” has raised more than $7,000 for the ASPCA in honor of the couple’s own pets and the thousands of homeless pets the ASPCA helps each year.
“I only had nine weeks to train,” says LaVallee of the first half marathon she ran in March 2011. She says she was worried but determined. She trained rigorously, gathered sponsors, and proudly finished the race. “Once I agreed to do it, I was committed,” she says. Raising money for pets in need kept her going. “I’ve rescued all my pets, and I love them.”
Expanding the Team
When Snodgrass saw LaVallee’s dedication and recognized the half marathon as a great way they could help homeless pets together, he began training for the following year.
“I would go out for my runs in the morning,” Snodgrass says. “When my alarm would go off at 5 or 5:30 and it was 20 degrees and the sun wasn’t up yet, it was hard,” he admits.
In 2012, the couple ran the half marathon together. LaVallee and Snodgrass, who both work full time, say they run for their pets. They have two dogs — a Border Collie/Shepherd mix named Toby and a Rottweiler/Hound mix, Sam. They also have two cats, Bo and Luke.
A Special Inspiration
But they also run for their late cat, Queenie. The couple adopted Queenie from the ASPCA. She was old and suffered from a slew of health issues. But, Snodgrass says, “Queenie was the absolute sweetest thing in the world.” So the couple adopted the senior cat.
Queenie lived out the rest of her life — two years — safe, comfortable and adored by LaVallee and Snodgrass. “We loved her,” LaVallee says. “Without the ASPCA, she would not have made it.”
The couple plans to run the half marathon again for Team ASPCA in March 2013. “We’ve found another great way to support the ASPCA and built a network of people who will support us so we can make a difference,” Snodgrass says. “We’re really driven to help homeless pets,” adds LaVallee.
What do you do for love? We’re looking for the funny, sweet and special stories that will make other pet parents smile. Email us at [email protected] to share your story. Please put "The Things We Do for Love" in the subject line.