Zoey's Fun Run helps pet owners with vet bills

Dog massages, pet blessings, a dog kissing booth and a costume contest are just a few things York County residents and their pets can look forward to at the fifth annual Zoey's Fun Run & 1 Mile Dog Walk on Sunday, Oct. 1.

John C. Rudy County Park will open its grounds to four-legged and two-legged guests hoping to donate to the annual fundraiser for Zoey's Fund, which supports pet owners who cannot afford the cost of their pets' medical expenses.

York County resident Margie Mattis created the fund after her 12-year-old Shih Tzu, Zoey, battled a rare form of cancer, and she heard firsthand the struggles that pet owners were facing.

"You sit in a vet's office and see what goes on around you," Mattis said. People could not afford to give their pets necessary and, in some cases, lifesaving treatments.

Mattis said the fund is unique because there are a lot of services for homeless pets, but not for pet owners.

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The fund is for York County residents, so the money stays local, and it covers expenses such as emergency surgeries, chronic illnesses and tragic accidents.

A chocolate Lab named Bullet, who swallowed a stuffed animal that got stuck in his intestines, was the first pet to be helped by Zoey's Fund. Now Bullet and his owner, Troy Baney, attend the fun run every year.

The Pennsylvania Veterinary Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, administers the fund free of charge, allowing every dollar raised to go toward pet care.

The fifth anniversary event will have 35 vendors — more than ever before — raffles, silent auctions, free hot and cold beverages from Sheetz and awards for race winners. 

Bubbles also will be released to "blow a kiss" for lost pets.


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The race starts at 10 a.m. for runners, with walkers starting shortly after, in a scenic route around the park.

Mattis said attendance is usually about 200, but she is hoping for an bigger turnout for the anniversary event.

She usually sees families that were helped, people who want to run with their dogs, avid runners who don't bring a dog and just genuine pet lovers.

The fun run raised $5,500 last year, and anything topping that will be a success, Mattis said.

"Things happen in life, people lose jobs, priorities shift," Mattis said. "But care for a pet can't." 

If You Go:

What: Zoey's Fun Run and 1 Mile Walk

Where: John Rudy Park, 400 Mundis Race Road, York

When: 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, rain or shine

More information: Register online at zoeysfunrun.org or print mail-in form; online donations accepted under the sponsors page