Lauren Flaherty, left, Michelle Macoskey and Adam Kane shower some love on Ladybug, an adorable young female available for adoption through Marr-Velous Pet Rescue. (Editor’s note: I walked with Ladybug and can confirm she was wonderful with every person and dog she met.)

While most of Marathon was bundled up safely at home, the morning of Jan. 14 found around 50 walkers and 25 four-legged companions braving the arctic tundra of the Seven Mile Bridge for the Florida Keys Domestic Abuse Shelter (DAS)’s Paws for a Cause fundraiser. Accompanied by more than a dozen volunteer event helpers, the walkers brought a mix of their own companions and dogs available for adoption through the Florida Keys SPCA and Marr-Velous Pet Rescue on the two-mile journey to Pigeon Key to raise more than $7,500 for DAS’ upcoming Middle Keys shelter rebuild. The event marked the first time Paws for a Cause was renewed since 2009. Upon reaching the island, both dogs and humans alike enjoyed a brisk island morning with a cookout provided by Centennial Bank – we won’t say who enjoyed the hamburgers more.

Those wishing to support DAS’ ongoing to rebuild the Middle Keys shelter may donate here.

DAS supporters and volunteers included Brenna Brockway, left, Rachel Wagner, Irene Cook, Rob DeField, Lynda DeField, Cora Baggs and Mary Stella.
Rose Shilalis, left, and Amy Halvorson enjoy Pigeon Key with Reef and Miles.
The Centennial Bank crew works the grill to provide hamburgers and hot dogs for hungry walkers – both human and canine.
Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.