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A Man and a Dog on a Mission
by Tara Kain

It all begins on March 7, 2004.  J. Bradley Materick and his dog Banner will set out on a lengthy six month adventure that spans nearly the entire United States West Coast. On a two fold mission, one for personal reasons and one for raising animal shelter awareness, they are hiking more than 2,500 miles from Southern California all the way to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

Three years ago Materick rescued an abused mutt he named Banner from the Adirondack Humane Society shelter in Plattsburg, New York. Or perhaps Banner helped rescue him. Materick was struggling from personal and emotional issues when he adopted Banner. In ways that sometimes only dogs can do, Banner radically altered Materick's life in a positive way.  To express his gratitude to animal shelters for helping to adopt out pets, Materick created the PCT for Pets idea. In a kind of walk-a-thon manner, people can donate any amount and 100% of the donations will go to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a sponsoring shelter along the route, or you can choose to donate to your own local shelter.

To get ready for this big adventure, both Materick and Banner head outside and exercise in the cold winter weather in Vermont for two to three hours a day. Along the PCT they will be facing extremes of all kinds including cold, wind, high elevations and lots of sun exposure. To prepare for this, Materick has prepared a white jacket for the black Banner which will help repel the heat of the sun. The pooch will also be fitted with some glasses to prevent high winds from blowing particles into his eyes and to help keep out excessive sun rays. Banner will be packing in some of his own supplies on his doggie backpack. But Materick will be carrying the heaviest supplies including water. While the majority of the Pacific Coast Trail allows dogs, there are some sections in National Parks or endangered species areas that do not permit dogs. For these areas they plan to re-route their trip to avoid those not so dog-friendly areas.

This dynamic duo has some very honorable reasons for heading out on this long trek and their story can be an inspiration to all dog lovers who enjoy the great outdoors and who appreciate the human canine bond. 

You can follow their progress on the PCT for Pets web site.  They plan to update it with photos and more information during the six month adventure.

Visit the PCT for Pets web site to read more about their story
Click here to donate to PCT for Pets
Check Out Materick and Banners progress





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