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This race is for the dogs: HYPE raises funds for humane society

Runners had a dog-gone good time Saturday at Bark at the Park 5K at Granger Park.

The third annual Bark at the Park 5K and 1-mile dog walk raised money for the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society and was sponsored by HYPE, a local young professionals group. 

According to event organizers, more than 100 runners participated in the event, and judging by the multitude of wagging tails, the human runners weren’t the only ones who had a great time.

“A lot of our members have dogs and love dogs, so we wanted to do a community fundraising event, but we also thought, ‘Let’s do something that everyone can bring their dogs to,’” said Trae Long, the HYPE president. “So, this idea came out of it. You see a lot of 5Ks, but you don’t see many that dogs can go to. Once we decided that the dogs were going to be here, partnering with the humane society as our beneficiary organization just made sense.”

Representatives from the humane society talked to participants at the race and pictures of some of the dogs that are up for adoption were displayed near the finish line.

“Events like this raise awareness that we are here, as well as helping to fund spay, neuter and medical treatment for dogs and helps us keep doors open and keep helping dogs in Troup County,” said Mandi Bono, the director of the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society. 

Bono said that she hopes to have a mobile adoption unit out at next year’s race.

Bark at the Park accomplishes several of HYPE’s ongoing missions — creating an environment where young professionals can socialize while giving back to local causes that are close to heart for many HYPE members.

“We enjoy doing events like this because it gets the young professionals out in the community,” Long said. “Part of our job as HYPE as we see it is to make LaGrange a good place to be for young professionals, and part of that is serving the community.”

Other members emphasized the role of the group in helping them find other young professionals in Troup County.

“Being able to get out and stay active and meet people, especially [people] our age, is difficult, so it has been really helpful for that,” said Dr. Stephanie Smith, a HYPE member and professor at LaGrange College.

For some of the event’s sponsors, mission was just as important as the cause that the race proceeds support.

“Our young professionals’ organization is something that is very important to me because I consider myself a young professional,” said Jamey Jackson, the executive vice president of Malone Workforce Solutions, one of the event sponsors. “I think anything that Malone can do to support young professionals and their development and community engagement, we want to be a part of [that].”

Jackson said that he also admired the big hearts of the people at the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society. Some of the other sponsors for Bark at the Park included Solomon’s, Jackson Services, Emory at LaGrange and Gay & Joseph CPA PC. 

To learn more about HYPE, visit Lagrangechamber.com/connect-and-engage/hype. To learn more about the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society or see the dogs available for adoption, visit Lagrangehumane.org.