‘Treasure race’ scavenger hunt to benefit Grand Blanc area animal rescue

GRAND BLANC TWP. — Spud Software and Evolutionary Racing are teaming up to help out a local animal shelter and anyone who wants to join in the fun may do so and have a chance at a $500 prize.

Using an app that Spud Software developed for Evolutionary Racing, participants will follow clues to various locations in the Grand Blanc area.

The scavenger hunt-style race begins at 1 p.m. Saturday. Registration is free.

Spud Software will donate $100 per registered, four-person team, up to $5,000, to Lucky Day Animal Shelter. Evolutionary Racing has donated the $500 prize.

“Users will download the app from the app store, register for the race and, once they register, they should see the Lucky Day Animal rescue race,” said Mason Sommer, a Spud Software spokesman. “Once they create an account, they tap on the race and enter their information. They will use their phones to find clues; the clues will pop up on the phone.”

The event also serves as a beta test for the app, Sommer said.

“With COVID, we have not been able to do fundraisers,” he said. “With Evolutionary Racing asking for a beta test, we thought a charity event for Lucky Day would be a good idea.”

With Sommer’s dad, Derek, owning Spud Software, and his mom, Gretchen, owning the nonprofit animal rescue, it was a natural connection.

“We mostly take in special needs and senior animals, including farm animals,” said Gretchen Sommer. “The farm animals stay with us forever. We take in mostly the ones meant for food production.”

With COVID, adoptions and adoption events are both down, she said.

Gretchen Sommer started the animal rescue in 2014, after volunteering and working at the Humane Society of Genesee County.

“I started taking home the animals that didn’t do well there,” she said. “It evolved from that. It’s my passion. I’ve always kind of been drawn to the misunderstood or perfectly imperfect or the misfits.

“It’s so rewarding, especially when we take in an animal that’s been so abused and neglected and has no reason to trust a human again, and they just forgive and forget and move on. I learn to be a better person from the animals we take in.”

Lucky Day operates with a small network of very dedicated volunteers who foster some of the animals.

Among the animals that now live at the shelter are a pig that was attacked by a pack of wild dogs, and a dog that was struck by a motorcycle and paralyzed, Mason Sommer said.

One very special dog, a 17-year-old blind and deaf poodle, went to the shelter after her owner went into assisted living, and it did not look like the owner would be able to return home. Months later, however, the owner was able to go home, but was not strong enough to care for the special needs animal.

“We take her dog over there once a week,” Gretchen Sommer said. “It brightens her spirits and it’s good for her dog to know her owner is still here. It’s very rewarding to do something for her.”

Registration for the treasure race is open until Saturday. Additional information is available on Facebook under Lucky Day Animal Rescue Treasure Race at facebook.com/ events/475469447049484.

“It’s something fun to get people together where they can still be safe, practice social distancing, adhere to those guidelines … it’s kind of the perfect thing to do,” Gretchen Sommer said.