By Marie Nesmith | Apr 10, 2024 | The Daily Tribune News

Set for April 19, the Wag & Walk 5K will provide essential funding and awareness for the Etowah Valley Humane Society. The benefit will be presented at Sam Smith Park in Cartersville.

“The inaugural EVHS Wag & Walk 5K was held April 19, 2019,” EVHS Director Bryan Canty said. “It began as a senior project by a graduating Kennesaw State University student. It was her mission to assist EVHS in the rescue endeavor by generating much needed funds. Since the event is a Peachtree Road Race qualifier, it draws participants of all ages and experience levels and since the commemorative T-shirts change each year, folks may deem them collectors’ items.

“It always warms my heart to see folks bringing their pets to walk with them. It shows that fellowship transcends species.”

Established in 1996 as the Bartow County Humane Society, the organization changed its name to Etowah Valley Humane Society in October 2006, the same year it opened the 4,928-square-foot shelter at 36 Ladds Mountain Road. EVHS continues to serve as the adoption and rescue outlet for Bartow County Animal Control.

The nonprofit’s facility, which costs around $325,000 to operate each year, consists of two visitation rooms, a surgical suite, two staff offices, a cat room with 24 enclosures, a puppy room with 19 enclosures, 14 climate-controlled kennel runs, a quarantine room for young puppies and an on-site dog park.

“We try to never miss opportunities to share the phenomenal success in animal welfare taking place in Bartow County,” Canty said. “We just completed our fifth year of ‘no-kill’ status with no healthy adoptable animals euthanized in our community in almost four and one-half years.

“Both accomplishments are monumental milestones that could not have been conceived when EVHS was founded in 1996. It can be a bit disheartening that the gains are not celebrated or embraced more by certain segments of our community.”

Registration is underway online at the event’s page on If individuals sign up by April 17 at 11:59 p.m., the cost to enter the 5K will be $30. Race-day registration will be $40 per participant and will start at 5 p.m., with the event kicking off at 6:30 p.m.

“Proceeds from the 2024 EVHS Wag & Walk will go into the general operating account,” Canty said. “Being a small nonprofit in a small town, revenue streams are somewhat limited and precious. We cannot afford to overlook or take for granted any monies generated through community support.

“Companion animal rescue is not fiscally self-sustaining and we could never hope to continue our mission without the support of animal advocates within our sphere of influence. In addition, EVHS does not receive any financial support from state or national organizations.”

Wire2Wire Running will be chip-timing the 5K offering.

“We absolutely love to do this race because it adds the element of the canines; they’re so adorable as they come in,” said David Matherne, who co-owns Wire2Wire Running with Matt Terry. “Many times they’re dragging their owners — ha ha. It’s one of the best races to spectate.

“Our community really ought to come out and support it by either participating with or without a dog or just watching. It’s a great thing to do on a Friday night.”

For more information about the EVHS and its upcoming event, call 770-383-3338 or visit or its Facebook page. Details about the Wag & Walk 5K also can be obtained online at

“We’re looking forward to another year of watching the two-footed runners and the four-footed, furry friends along with them,” Matherne said. “My favorite thing about the race is how much joy I witness with the runners and their dogs and the kids.

“It’s a true pleasure to be a part of it. I don’t have a dog, but races like this make me think maybe I should.”