How the Austin Marathon helps this charity raise $20-30K to save dogs


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon is less than a week away, and local charities are ramping up efforts to raise money around the race.

The marathon’s charitable arm, Austin Gives Miles, supports 28 charities, including Blue Dog Rescue, a network of foster families ready to take in dogs saved mainly from shelters around the area.

Nick, a 10-year-old English Cocker Spaniel, is up for adoption from Blue Dog Rescue. (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)

“At any given time there’s probably 20 dogs that are in our care,” said Kathy Adaky, a volunteer with the group. They provide medical care, food, toys and other supplies so the foster dog parents don’t have to spend their own money. The average cost per pup is about $350, Adaky said.

When runners register for the marathon, they can select a charity to raise money for and create individual fundraising pages to support a cause they believe in. Blue Dog Rescue brings in between $10,000 and $20,000 in donations.

Matching funds from the Moody Foundation, which adds up to the $10,000 to the total, meaning Blue Dog Rescue has earned as much as $30,000 from marathon-runners.

“And that about covers our vet bills for the year, so that is really, really helpful,” Adaky said.

Expensive medical bills

Scout had a severe case of mange when Blue Dog Rescue saved him. (Photo Courtesy: Blue Dog Rescue)

Some of the dogs they rescue need more extensive medical care. Scout, a 1-year-old Adaky and another volunteer brought to an Austin park on Friday, needed a lot of rehabilitation.

“He had no hair at all; he had a really severe case of mange,” she explained, adding they couldn’t even tell what kind of dog he was thanks to the

In addition, he needed hip surgery to relieve pain he’d been suffering his whole life. The rescue treated the mange and arranged for his surgeries, one of which he still needs to complete. The total price tag has been about $2,500 so far.

After a lot of rehab, Scout is happy and healthy. After one more surgery, he will be ready to adopt. (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)

Blue Dog Rescue’s adoption fee of $180 doesn’t begin to cover the medical expenses, so the nonprofit has to rely on donations to keep doing their work.

The Austin Marathon provides a lot of that support, and it serves another important purpose for the rescue, too.

“As you’re running the half and the full marathon, every aid station that you pass is one of our official charities,” said Carly Samuelson, Austin Gives Miles’ charity manager. “It’s a really fun way, too, for our runners to get to know a little bit more about local Austin charities and giving back.”

In its seven years in existence, Austin Gives Miles has raised about $3.5 million for local nonprofits, Samuelson said. This year the goal is $1.3 million.

Blue Dog Rescue has already raised about $6,000 from about 90 runners, many of whom picked the group at random because it’s the only dog charity on the official list. The money is important, Adaky said, but so is the exposure.

“We’re able to, with Austin Gives Miles, get our name out and get people familiar with Blue Dog Rescue,” she said.

You can register for the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K here.

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