GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If “Least Likely To Run, Even If Being Chased” had been a senior superlative at Kara Eagle’s high school, she says she would have taken the vote.
Eagle has never considered herself a runner, but too many heartbreaking walks down shelter hallways has changed that.
Eagle started working in animal rescue shelters in 2007. She remembers the times where she had to choose which dogs to take home and foster and which would be left behind and euthanized.
“If you have a list of 10 and you can take two home, then the other eight are going to be euthanized. Those eight, we’d face this lonely walk,” Eagle recollects. “One person with a leash, walking this dog down this hallway to a room where we’re going to end their lives.”
Eagle made that walk more than she ever would’ve liked to. And that’s why she runs. Eagle says when the pain in her legs gets so unbearable, she thinks of that lonely walk and imagines turning around and running with the dog in the opposite direction.
“For five seconds I’ll be thinking, ‘My legs are going to stop moving.’ And then for the next two minutes I’ll be thinking, ‘But wait, remember, this is honestly easier than that walk was,’ Eagle said. “Running is easier than walking a dog to its death, and for me that’s all there is to it.”
Saturday, Eagle will toe the line at the Fifth Third River Bank Run 10k as the executive director of C-SNIP.
The nonprofit organization’s mission is to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats by providing quality, reduced cost spay and neuter surgeries. C-SNIP is also a charity partner of the Fifth Third River Bank Run.
“This is a way for me to fundraise and support a cause and an organization I believe in wholeheartedly; that stops that walk from happening and for me that’s just much easier than being the one to say, ‘I’m sorry, but there’s just no way to save you,’” said Eagle.
Eagle says altogether, C-SNIP has about 25 people running or directly fundraising, trying to reach the team’s $10,000 goal. The funds will go toward raising awareness about the importance of spay and neutering animals.
‘IT’S STILL A PROBLEM’
Eagle says that the more animals that are snipped, the fewer euthanizations animal shelters face. Spaying and neutering controls the pet population, lowering the number of animals that end up in shelters.
Eagle says since she started working in animal rescue, the statewide euthanasia rate has dropped more than 60 percent. That’s about 67,000 animals a year, she says.
But the hard work is far from over.
“There’s (sic) still animals being euthanized in shelters. There’s (sic) still puppies and kittens who don’t have forever homes. It’s still a problem. It’s prevention too. If you think about how quickly animals can reproduce, they can come back in just a couple of years,” Eagle explained.
Animals are what Eagle understands. She says it’s running, even after three months of training, that she still doesn’t quite understand.
But she’ll do it, with motivational memories in her heart and mind.
“I will be ready to run,” Eagle said. “I can do it, I can do it. My goal is to not finish last, or just to finish.”