0

5K held to help build Boston Terrier rescue shelter

AUBURN -- The country came to a standstill on April 15 as the finish line at the Boston Marathon took a turn for the worst.

At 2:50 p.m. a bomb went off, with a second one going off soon after.

For Conyers resident Ben McClain, it was a surreal experience.

Less than 40 minutes prior to the first explosion, McClain finished his first Boston Marathon and went back to his hotel room.

"I was done and went back to relax," he said. "My wife then called me to see if I was OK and then told me to turn on the TV. I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

While McClain was in no immediate danger from the blasts, it's an experience he says he'll never forget.

McClain received a runner's passport for his participation in the event, which is a prize for most first-time Boston marathoners.

However, he didn't see it as something to keep, but something to use to the benefit of others.

It was the events in Boston which inspired him to move forward and find the positive in life.

That positive has been the Boston Terrier Rescue of East Tennessee. The group, which covers all states in the southeast is a nonprofit group dedicated to saving Boston Terriers throughout the region.

And Saturday was one of the group's biggest events as it hosted the first 5K Doggie Dash at Little Mulberry Park.

The event was held to help raise money to build a shelter in Rutledge, where the group already had land donated to them.

McClain's passport was auctioned off to help raise money for the shelter.

"I'm not one to keep race souvenirs," he said. "If it could benefit helping build the ranch, that's the most important thing. I want to see these dogs get the proper care they need."

The BTRET is especially important to McClain because that's where he got his dog, Trooper, two years ago.

"Trooper came from a situation where he was malnourished and underdeveloped," McClain said. "The rescue got him back to health and that's when we adopted him."

The organization uses a network of 20 to 30 foster homes which house 150 dogs at any given time.

"Our goal is to get them healthy and get them into a loving home," said volunteer Heather Croall of Dacula. "We're trying to raise money to build an emergency shelter so these animals can get the proper care needed.

"The race is a small step to getting there. The volunteers that have stepped up by providing a foster home for our pets or donating items to help raise money have been a big help."

With the auction, McClain's passport would help the rescue group get one step closer to giving another dog (like Trooper) a chance at a new life.