Virtual ‘scavenger hunt’ on Saturday raises money for local animal welfare organizations

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — “You may see me pretending to be a T-Rex,” Kim Waters said.

Waters is Pflugerville Pets Alive!’s team captain for the national fundraiser “Relay For Rescue” — a first-time event for Austin after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual event takes place Saturday, April 10. Tasks come online starting at 2 p.m.

Waters (right) at a microchips clinic (Pflugerville Pets Alive!)

As captain, Waters won’t only pretend to be a dinosaur, she and her team members will attempt to complete 250 other tasks.

“There’s a couple of questions, technical questions, on what’s the core vaccines for a dog or a cat,” she said. “You do a pony ride in your yard. So, it’s all based on fun, kind of team-building activities. It’s a nice way to taste a little bit of normalcy while still being under lockdown.”

More examples include:

  • Selfie with a pet that is not a cat or dog
  • Video of a person doing a bunny hop down a sidewalk
  • Dancing in the street – points for each stranger that dances

Each team member must take a photo or video of the task they’re attempting and submit each virtually through the GooseChase app. Aside from GooseChase, teams must also use WhatsApp for group messages to ensure each person/team is only working on unique tasks. The WhatsApp group chat is “PPA! Relay 4 Rescue.” You can download both from Apple and Google Play app stores.

“I’m looking to have a bit of fun. I mean the last year’s been kind of tough,” Waters said. “I don’t know how to be a Tyrannosaurus rex so it’s gonna be fun to see that, you know? It’s gonna be fun to see the rest of the team try to do it as well as the other teams.”

Purpose behind participation

The tasks are missions that your team can do to earn points towards prizes. The first place grand prize is $3000 — money that Waters’ organization could desperately use.

The fundraising need for animal welfare organizations like Pflugerville Pets Alive! is “pretty high,” she said.

(Pflugerville Pets Alive!)

“We are about 20% lower than what we do per year on average. COVID hit quite a bit of our funding.”

Pflugerville Pets Alive! is a federally recognized independent nonprofit helping animal welfare in the Central Texas area. They’ve been around for roughly nine years, Waters said. Her nonprofit does spay-neuter vouchers, holds microchip clinics, places pets with families and more.

Waters will also manage participating team members during Saturday’s relay. Currently, they’re below her team’s goal of 30 participants, however, there’s still time to register.

While sales have ended for “team” t-shirts, you can still participate with a printed handout, which must be used in submitted pictures and videos. “No t-shirt registration” costs $25 plus a fee, which also includes a donation to your charity of choice.

Overall, five local animal welfare organizations are competing for Relay For Rescue’s “virtual scavenger hunt.”

Here in Central Texas, you can join a team for Lockhart-based Paws in Prison, Pflugerville Pets Alive!, Austin-based S.A.F.E Refuge of Central Texas, Save-An-Angel and Take Me Home Transport. You can learn more about each on Relay For Rescue’s webpage.

Relay For Rescue QR Code to register and participate (Pflugerville Pets Alive!)

Waters hopes events like these are a new trend for animal welfare organizations.

“I have seen the videos of some of the tasks from previous events and the teams have so much fun and the participants, they’re doing it for what they love. They’re doing it for the mission that they love, so it’s a nice, feel-good, win-win for animals,” she said.

Relay For Rescue’s goal is to have more than 300 participants in Austin and raise at least $15,000 through registrations and sponsorships. Winners will be announced live at Lustre Pearl on Rainey Street at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Pflugerville Pets Alive! is also looking for at least three silent auction items valued at $50 and above. This will be an additional way to generate funds for the team. Gift certificates, gift baskets and wine are all valid items. You can learn more about Pflugerville Pets Alive! on its Relay 4 Rescue webpage.

You can register for each team or donate to them on Relay For Rescue’s main website. You can email info@relayforrescue.com for more information.

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