Out & About: Run for the Animals at Saturday’s Save a Stray 5K in Sunapee

  • Bosco relaxes in his cat carriage in May 2016 at the Save-A-Stray 5K in Sunapee, N.H. The race raises funds for the Sullivan County Humane Society, where Sabrina and Brendan Carley, of Claremont, N.H., adopted Bosco in 2015. (Courtesy Sabrina Carley) Courtesy of Sabrina Carley

  • Brendan and Sabrina Carley, of Claremont, N.H., hold their cat Bosco in May 2016 at the Save-A-Stray 5K in Sunapee, N.H. The race raises funds for the Sullivan County Humane Society, where the Carleys adopted Bosco in 2015. The couple has made it their goal to raise at least $1,000 a year for the race.(Courtesy Sabrina Carley) Courtesy of Sabrina Carley

Valley News Calendar Editor
Published: 5/17/2017 10:00:25 PM
Modified: 5/18/2017 11:25:54 AM

Sunapee — When Sabrina and Brendan Carley went to adopt Bosco from the Sullivan County Humane Society two years ago, the couple knew they’d be unable to cover the nearly $1,000 the orange-and-white cat required in medical care.

Not to worry, shelter staff said.

“They took care of it all,” Sabrina Carley said.

Since then, the Claremont couple has made it their mission to raise $1,000 or more for the annual Save a Stray 5K, the major fundraiser for the humane society. This year, it will be held on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., at Sunapee Harbor.

“That was our main goal starting it and that’s why we want to do more each year,” Sabrina Carley said.

Last year they raised more than $1,500. This year they’re aiming for $2,000.

Bosco was, understandably, not in the best of moods when the couple went to see him at the shelter after Brendan Carley saw his photograph on the humane society’s website. “When he first got to the humane society, he had everything wrong with him,” Sabrina Carley said about Bosco, including ear mites, a cloudy eye and skin problems. “He was just a little grumpy,” Sabrina Carley said, but the couple were drawn to him. “There’s something about him that we kept saying ‘We have to make this work.’ ”

The couple decided to take him in as a foster and “he just flourished,” she said.

Bosco has since become the unofficial mascot of the Save a Stray 5K and attended last year’s event in a cat carriage pushed by the Carleys.

“He at first was a little apprehensive,” Sabrina Carley said. People approached, asking to take selfies with him. As the crowd gathered, the Carleys shared the story of his journey from street cat to beloved family pet who gives hugs to his humans and “purrs like no tomorrow.”

While Bosco is primarily an indoor cat, he enjoys time outside. In addition to the cat carriage, the Carelys take Bosco outside on a leash “with a little bowtie on the back of his harness,” Sabrina Carely said.

It’s stories like the Bosco’s that motivate the volunteers at the humane society. In its fourth year, each Save a Stray 5K has brought in more money than the last, board treasurer Laurie Waterman said.

“Our goal was $10,000 and we made it,” Waterman said of last year’s race, the first in which the humane society introduced a corporate sponsorship system and encouraged people to form teams to raise money. This year, the board raised the goal to $15,000.

The humane society holds other fundraisers throughout the year, including bingo games, baked goods sales and a table at the Charlestown townwide yard sale.

Since the shelter opened in August 2012, 1,037 cats have been adopted (as of May 10). Recently, the low-cost spay and neuter clinic completed its 3,000th surgery. At any given time, there are 20-24 cats at the humane society’s facility at 14 Tremont St., in Claremont.

“Since we’re a no-kill shelter, we try to find homes for those who typically would not be picked by the public,” Waterman, of Newport, said. She and her husband, Dana, have taken in two such cats. There’s one that used to scratch that Laurie Waterman spent a lot of time working with. “It took about a year for her to come around,” Laurie Waterman said. “If you went looking for a cat like that you wouldn’t want her.” Another is “a lovely cat,” but doesn’t like to be touched by humans. “Another unadoptable,” Waterman said. The humane society is full of “sad stories, and then good stories,” Waterman said. “We just do our best to keep it going.”

Online registration for the race closes tonight (go to https://www.opensignups.com/signup/32704), but participants can sign up on race day. It costs $20-$25 to participate, with children 12 and under free. Following the race, there will be a barbecue at Sunapee Harbor.

For more information, visit http://sullivancountyhumanesociety.org or contact Laurie Waterman at 603-381-0716 or laurie_waterman@comcast.net.

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