John Howell Sr. editorial 4/11/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2014

Racing for Paws promotes active lifestyle, helps PCHS

Random thoughts about the Racing for Paws event on Springfest morning, Saturday, May 17:

This is the 7th year that the Panola County Humane Society (PCHS) has sponsored the 5K race as a fund-raiser, long enough for participation as runner, walker or spectator to have become an annual tradition for many.

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Since the first Racing for Paws, more 5K events have sprung up, and that’s a good thing. At least some of the interest stems from our growing, collective concern about the impact of weight on our health. 

The 5K events are a great starting place for anyone wanting to shift away from a sedentary lifestyle and become more active. It allows participation, relaxed and among friends, at one’s own pace — walking, jogging or flat out running. Sure, the fastest get medals and bragging rights, but most of us are real happy with a tee shirt.

As more people have participated in 5K races, some have discovered that they still have stamina left over when they cross the finish line after the 3.1 miles. That has been channeled into longer races. The Batesville Rotary Club captured this interest with last fall’s Gateway to the Delta 5K and 10-miler. Marathons, half-marathons, and even super-endurance events have cropped up to allow these athletes to further challenge themselves against distance and obstacles.

But the basic building block is the 5K. It’s also the most fun. Where else can you see such as a fat, old codger like me (among many beautiful people) huffing and puffing down the street with a number pinned to his shirt?

And Racing for Paws has a serious purpose. If you will read the ad below, you can see where PCHS has shifted much focus. Amid their concern for all animals, they have learned that rural Panola County is overrun with unwanted (or under-wanted) dogs whose numbers have increased drastically in recent years.

PCHS has sheltered many dogs, provided foster care while paying for shots, spaying or neutering, and then transferred them to them adoptive homes, primarily in northeastern states. PCHS found adoptive homes for 337 puppies and dogs during 2013. But unwanted/under-wanted dogs multiply far faster.

Too many people in Panola County either don’t care or don’t have the money for neutering or spaying. PCHS, as the advertisement below states, has found a solution to the latter. They will help low income families pay for the surgery.

Finding a solution for the former — people who regard dog ownership simply as a matter of providing a little food and leaving them to otherwise fend for themselves, roaming free to breed, fight, attack other animals, get run over in the road, have their always-surplus offspring dumped on somebody else, whatever — is an even greater challenge.

But with their neuter/spay assistance to low-income families, PCHS is making inroads even into these ingrained, traditional attitudes, helping people to realize the responsibility that comes with dog ownership in the 21st Century.

Your entry into the Racing for Paws 5K at Batesville Springfest will help support the efforts of PCHS whose few members work so hard at solving a county-wide problem that it should embarrass the rest of us.

But they’re not trying to embarrass us. They would like our support, including participation in Racing for Paws. The entry fee is $25 through April 30, $30 until race day and $35 on May 17 race day. 

Enter easily online at It’ll be fun. Did I mention you’ll get a nice tee shirt?