One last time, 15-year-old Matt Gross will ride 65 miles on his bicycle to raise money for dogs and cats.

It's hard to believe it's been nearly 6 years since I was told about a 10-year-old kid who wanted to help homeless pets, and so was going to take a bicycle ride to raise money. Matt's family had adopted an aging beagle named Buddy who had been abused during his life. Buddy's story touched Matt's heart and made him want to help support the shelters so no dogs would ever have to go without loving families. You can see Buddy in this video that I shot on the day of the ride three years ago.

I'm not sure how far Matt and his Dad, Jason, went that first year, but they've increased the distance each time. This year, they decided to stick with last year's plan for 65 miles and will start their trek on Wednesday. To give you some perspective on how far that is, they're starting at Pat's Bike Shop in Brewer and riding all the way to Passadumkeag, and back. That's a long ride!

Matt decided this would be his final year for the ride because he's in high school now and, as we all know, life gets busy. He's in ROTC and will be taking college courses as he goes through high school. This is an ambitious young man with big dreams for his future, and we hope he achieves every single one of them.

I believe the original goal was $300, small potatoes compared to this year's goal of $4,200. But big or small, the goals are always met. Matt was determined to do a lot of good, and he's achieved that, raising more than $14,000 over the years. He's really close to this year's goal, but could still use some help. Donations this year are being split between the Bangor Humane Society, the Animal Orphanage of Old Town, and the Furry Friends Food Bank. You can get more information and make a donation through the Ride For The Wet Nose Facebook page.


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