I think everyone is starting to go a little stir crazy! Things are starting to open up, but it is clear that the world is not the way that it was. Our two teams have reintegrated, but social distancing, masks and curbside will be in our future for a while. To be totally honest, I have somewhat envied the people that get to work from home or are off work. (To be equally honest, I would have been at work anyway.) I do however understand that being forced to be at home is harder than getting to be at home. Being essential has not been a walk in the park either. I’m going with that excuse for why the race information hasn’t been out sooner. That and we didn’t know if we were having it.

This would have been our fifth year that Guardian Animal Medical Center would be hosting a 5K run and 1 mile dog walk. Because of COVID 19, we are doing a virtual race/walk. The date on the shirts is Sunday, May 31, but the walk/run/sit can be done at anytime. We decided at our roles and goals meeting at the New Year, that the race would be in May and we would set the date in March. Somehow, we didn’t plan for COVID 19.

The split shifts meant everyone was working twice as hard, but for less time. I was having to check people out or even answer the phones sometimes. We didn’t have to worry about socially distancing after work, mostly we went home and collapsed. Honestly, I think we forgot it was May, much less that we were supposed to have a race!

As time progressed, we made up some new forms, online check-in worked, and we got into a routine. We found we could connect with clients through facetime on the iPad. When the teams came back together, life was much better. And we remembered it was race time.

We have had a 5K and paw walk since Guardian Animal’s twenty-fifth anniversary. We wanted to do something big and a 5K is big! Usually we pair up with a company that hosts races. We submit our information, sign the contract and submit a deposit on the $700 fee. They would do the chip timing, online registration and have a race director present. We had to select a cause, name, date, race route and decide which package we wanted.

The cause was easy. In addition to the race helping with community fitness, our 501© charitable trust fund is empty. It is always empty, there is always more need than the fund has. All proceeds will support our Guardian Angel fund for strays, rescues, wildlife and owner assistance for special cases.

The route normally goes up and around the Flatwoods City Park and back for the walkers and to Giovanni’s and back for the runners. This year it is a virtual race. Or a virtual walk. Actually, you can (like the rest of quarantine) sit on the couch and earn your shirt. It would be nice if you took your pet out for a walk, but you don’t actually have to. You still earn your shirt!

The shirts continue the design from the prior years. There is an angel wing design with a half circle of paw prints and a dog and cat from my coloring book on gold shirts. The shirts look good. Working with the designer meant that we got a better design than either of us alone would have done. We even have bandanas for the pets. The registered dogs will get a race bandana.

We have some of our vendors for are providing goodie bag support and have some exciting things coming. Door prizes won’t actually be in person, but they will happen. The race is coming together. Bags, shirts and bandanas will be available sometime during the week after the “race.”

Registration has been our stumbling block this year. Because we are not congregating in any one place for a race, we do need a finish, announcing system, or any of those race things. I had assumed we could do the race registration online for a reduced fee, but if I can Katie nor I have been able to figure it out. Asking wasn’t helpful either. I know the company thinks there answer was enough, but it isn’t. Our back up plan is to do website registrations for the shirts or perhaps text or call in registration. We hope for online, because the phones have been hard to keep up with.

Twenty-nine years ago, equipment, supplies and walls were starting to come together as I was getting ready to open Guardian Animal Emergency Clinic. Two years later it would become Guardian Animal Hospital. 19 years after opening, we would move to Flatwoods and become Guardian Animal Medical Center. Every step of the way, we would be helped by others, learn a lot and do a better job. I love that we can do something special and something big for our anniversary and continue to give back. It seems that it comes full circle as, some of those initial items are not good enough for Guardian Animal any more, but are now critical needs in Uganda.

I know these are difficult times for everyone. Sunlight and fresh air are good for you and if our race helps to get some folks out and about in a socially distanced way, it will meet the reason we started it. In short, I hope our annual 5K that is not a race this year brings some light to your world. Thank you for helping us help the ones that cannot speak for themselves.