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Name: Shirley Stanley

Occupation: Decatur & Macon County Animal Shelter Foundation (DMCASF) board member, Fido Scurry 5K chairperson

City of residency: Decatur 

Next Saturday is the Fido Scurry at Fairview Park. What is the event, and what can people expect this year?

This is the 18th year that we've had Fido Scurry, and the intent is for it to be a celebration of the unique bond of humans and pets. We have had other animals participate in the past. One year, somebody brought a cat in a zip-up carrier. Another year, somebody brought a fennec fox, and they're almost catlike, and we've had miniature horses. But there's a lot barking, so it really is a dog event. 

It also is a legitimate run, with a 5K and one-mile run, with or without a pet participant. It's one of the only sanctioned races where you can run with a dog, because a lot of races have rules where you cannot have a dog running with you or where you can't have children in strollers or wagon. We invite all of those. It's a great event where you can do what you want to do. 

We (DMCASF) do this in partnership with the Decatur Park District and split the proceeds equally. 

This year's Scurry also marks the return of Wags & Waves. What's that? 

We did this in 2004, 2005 and 2006. After Labor Day, the Fairview Family Aquatic Center closes, and they would not add anymore chemicals to the pool, so on the Saturday following the closure of the pool, people would bring their dogs and put their dogs in the water for a swim.

Dogs love water. A lot of them really love water, and a lot of them all of a sudden realize that they're swimming and they just naturally swim. They're so joyous. Some dogs are jumping off of the diving board and into the water in a flying leap. It's so much fun. 

We hoped we'd be able to do it again in 2007, but the Illinois Department of Public Health said 'no' because it's a public pool for people. Even though the pool was closed for the season, it was disallowed. But now, since the pool is going to close permanently, they gave us their OK. We got the word at 4:59 on a Friday, and I literally jumped up and down. I've wanted to do this forever. 

Why do you think Fido Scurry has been such a popular event for the past 18 years?

There aren't a lot of events where people are invited to bring their dogs. This is one of them. There are a few other elements that people like, too. We do a blessing of the animals that's very popular, and sometimes it's really kind of touching. Say someone's dog is old and not doing well, they come to have their animal blessed. 

Another thing we do that's a great deal of fun is a pet parade and costume contest. Since the World Cup was not that long ago, this year's theme is "World Pup." We invite people to dress their pets in any kind of sports attire, and prizes are given to the best costumed pet and owner combo. 

It's just something to celebrate the owners who are responsible when having a pet in their home, and highlighting the fun and positive part of pet ownership. 

Beside the Scurry, does the DMCASF currently have anything else going on?

Not anything right now. We have adoption events constantly. Most of our focus is raising money for homeless and shelter-less animals.

(The Scurry) is kind of a unique situation, where we have something that celebrates the joy of actual dog ownership. This one is an awareness-raiser for pet ownership and how much fun it is to have a pet. 

What's your favorite thing about being a pet owner?

I just think it's the joy that an animal brings. They're unpredictable, and they're smart, and great companions. It adds a whole layer of life. An awful lot of it is an investment, where you get a lot of what you put in. 

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Contact Jaylyn Cook at (217) 421-7980. Follow him on Twitter: @jaylyn_HR


Government Reporter

Government reporter for the Herald & Review.

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