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Dog walkers ready for Busy Bone 500

Break out your walking shoes and leashes, because the Third Annual Busy Bone 500 is coming to the Saratoga County Fairgrounds.

The dog walk and silent auction event has become a yearly effort to raise money for the Saratoga County Animal Shelter, primarily through the sponsorship of dog walkers by area businesses. Organizer Carol Lang put the event together after participating in the Fireplug 500 in Scotia, where she and her black Labrador, Dokota, were among the top earners.

We raised a lot of money for the Fireplug, she said. "I said, I want to start something in my own county, and I just did it. It was all because of my dog."

Lang doesn't walk in the event (Dakota has hip problems), but since its inception the Busy Bone has grown every year, and Lang expects that 2009 will be the biggest yet"at least in terms of walkers (77 participated last year). Sponsorships, on the other hand, are slow in the midst of a tough economy.

Last year, the event took in $14,000, and $10,000 went to the county animal shelter and $4,000 went to the Friends of the Animal Shelter group.

"This year has been a little bit down, especially with the economy," said Lang. "Hopefully, the walkers will come through for us."

The silent auction will consist of baskets donated by business and organizers consisting of everything from dog treats to liquor (always big earners). All of the 2009 proceeds will go toward the animal shelter, which is continually fundraising to provide improvements to a new shelter.

Earlier this year, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors approved sending plans for a new animal shelter building into the design phase. Officials hope for a groundbreaking this spring on a shelter that will feature expanded facilities and veterinary areas. The new shelter will be built near the current one, now 30 years old, on County Farm Road in Ballston Spa.

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