TulsaPets Magazine September 2022

10 TulsaPets • September / October 2022 By Your Side People and Pooches Will Participate in Parkside Fund-raiser by Julie Wenger Watson | Photos courtesy of Parkside Psychiatric Hospital & Clinic E veryone knows exercise is good for us, and exercising with friends — in- cluding our four-legged ones — is a great way to stay motivated. On October 8, Parkside Psychiatric Hospital & Clinic will host the 12th annual By Your Side 5K and one-mile fun run at Mohawk Park. The all-ages family-friendly event is a fund-raiser for the not-for-profit psychiatric hospital and outpatient clinic, and it’s a dog-friendly day for race participants and supporters alike. “Our mission is to provide outstanding mental health and support services,” says Derek Frazier, Parkside’s fund-raising direc- tor. “This is one of our largest fund-raisers. Dogs and pets are just a great support sys- tem for many of our patients and for people in general. We wanted to do something where pet owners could feel welcome, in- vited, and encouraged. If you want to come and just run by yourself or with your family, that’s fine too.” Pet owners intuitively know that their animals are wonderful companions, and the mental and physical health benefits of own- ing a pet are confirmed by science. To start with, pets increase opportunities to exercise, go outside, and socialize. The companion- ship they provide helps to alleviate loneli- ness and depression. The human-pet bond can also lead to decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels and increased cognitive function in older adults. Something for Everyone Whether you bring a dog or just come with your human companions to the By Your Side event, there are plenty of activities for everyone. In addition to the race, events include a costume contest for dogs and owners, live music, and entertainment for the kids. Although the 5K run is certified by the USA Track & Field organization, families, kids, and dogs of all ages are encouraged to participate in any of the events. Participating canines receive their own medals. “We have a cutest dog contest and an ugliest dog contest and a contest for pets that look the most like their owners. There will be a lot of fun prizes awarded too,” says Frazier. “It’s an outdoor event that is focused on being active and healthy too, as well as an opportunity for people just to get together.” Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma is the presenting sponsor for the event. Providing a Safety Net In addition to Parkside’s comprehensive psychiatric services, the organization delivers other services that further overall health and well-being. The By Your Side program allows clients in need to receive nonperishable food and personal hygiene items for themselves and family members; clothing for themselves and family mem- bers; transportation assistance to and from Parkside; and books. Proceeds from the By Your Side fund-raiser will help support all those services. “We really want to try to be as wrap- around as possible. We can’t do everything, but we want to make sure that our patients have a safety net,” Frazier says. The By Your Side run is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a beautiful fall morning with your pup while supporting a worthwhile organization. To register, go to https://runsignup.com/Race/OK/Tulsa/ ByYourSideRun. For more information, visit facebook.com/BYSrun. Runners, walkers, and their dogs enjoy the By Your Side fun run at Mohawk Park. A well-dressed pup and owner enter the costume contest at the By Your Side fund-raiser.