Biking for all the barkers at Huntington shelter

Annual Bike for Barks to benefit Little Shelter

By Arlene Gross

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David Ceely, left, and Tito Colon, right, of Little Shelter, with Jonathan Small, Michael Small and Alex Small at the ride last year. With them are Jonathan Small’s dogs Lulu and Sienna. Photo from Jonathan Small

May 22, 2013 | 08:44 PM

The Memorial Day weekend will start bright and early for a bunch of energetic dog lovers taking part in the fifth annual Bike for Barks bike-a-thon to benefit Huntington's Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center.

Starting at six am on Friday at the Port Washington train station on Main Street, between Haven Avenue and South Bayles Avenue, the cyclists will meander to Roslyn, and then head off for a stop at Little Shelter, at 33 Warner Road in Huntington, which is the 20-mile mark of the ride. The more adventurous of the group will continue on for another 80 miles to Small's home at 4 Renees Way in East Hampton.

The brainchild of brothers Jonathan and Michael Small, the Bike For Barks bike-a-thon started with a bet Jonathan's wife made with him. After his brother Michael rode by bicycle to their family home in East Hampton on Memorial Day six years ago, she bet Jonathan that he wouldn't be able to keep up when his brother rode the following Memorial Day.

Not wanting to be shown up by either his wife or brother, Jonathan Small said he felt obliged to do the ride.

"We decided, if it was something we were going to do each year, we'd do it as a fundraiser," said Small, a Roslyn resident. They chose Little Shelter because his family adopted their two dogs from the Huntington shelter about nine years ago. After seeing a picture on the shelter's website, they fell in love with Lulu, a beagle living at the facility. However, when they went to adopt her, they discovered that she was inseparable from Sienna, a border collie.

"While they were both at the shelter, they would be walked together. They were fed together. They slept in the same bed together. They spent all their time with each other," Small said and they adopted both dogs.

Ever since the adoptions, Small has endeavored to get the word out about the shelter.

"Not too many people really have ever heard of Little Shelter, although they're one of the oldest no-kill shelters on Long Island. And their entire budget is all based off of donations," Small said.

About 20 people are expected to ride this year, said Tito Colon, events and operations manager for the Little Shelter.

Two participants, employees of National Grid, have been promised that their company will match 50 percent of whatever sum they raise, Colon said. In addition, there are a few people from the Bike To Save Puppies organization and some volunteers from the shelter who will participate.

"We're very excited that the Smalls started this," Colon said. "It's just growing year after year. Next year it's going to be even larger." All the funds go to feeding, vaccinating, neutering, spaying and caring for animals.

For more information or to contribute to Little Shelter, go