#iameastmark: Christi Knoch & Spay Pride 5K

Meet Christi Knoch. She is a rescue mom to four fabulous canines and she quickly fell in love with Eastmark’s strong sense of community. Her full time gig is in telecommunications, but her lifetime passion is helping Maricopa County’s most vulnerable four-legged residents.

On Feb. 17, Christi is bringing the Spay Pride 5K right here to Eastmark and she has the inside scoop on how to join the cause.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m originally from Hershey, Pa. and I went to school in Florida. In 1996, the company I was working for transferred me to Arizona, so I’ve been out here for about 22 years.

Why did you choose to make Eastmark your home?

Prior to Eastmark I had a home in Mesa that was much larger and with lots of land, but I’m now at the age where I’m starting to think ahead to retirement and I really wanted to move somewhere smaller and more manageable. I just love the community and all the amenities at Eastmark—it was a perfect fit. I’m in a Taylor Morrison home near Candela Court.

What is your background (career, hobbies, etc.)?

For the last 20 years I’ve worked in telecommunications negotiating contracts as a technical writer. I love what I do! The field is always changing and you get to work with amazing companies that are always pushing the boundaries to the next level to make sure that the quality of what we see on our televisions keeps getting better.

My love is with animals. I have four dogs, all of which are rescue dogs. One is a foster named Rosa who is a very large German Boxer. She is completely deaf and I have been teaching her sign language. I also have two male Shar-Pei mixes and one female Greyhound/Shepard mix. You’ll probably see me out in the community walking all four dogs! When I’m not at my day job, I also work with the Panacea Animal Wellness Sanctuary.

How did you become involved with the Panacea and its Spay Pride event?

Also about 20 years ago, I was at my veterinarian’s office here in Arizona taking my dog in for his yearly shots, and there was an abandoned puppy that was only a couple weeks old. It barely had its eyes open. I happened to be in the right place at the right time. The puppy would require 24 hour care, and since I already had a dog and worked from home, I knew I could handle it. I rehabilitated the dog until it was about three months old and then a wonderful couple, who I’m still friends with today, adopted him.

This was the first time I really saw how an individual person, even with other full-time responsibilities, can really make a difference. That’s what got me interested in volunteering and giving back to the community. I then aligned with Dr. Eva DeCozio who founded the Panacea Animal Wellness Sanctuary where rescue pets are rehabilitated in loving foster homes. Dr. DeCozio takes critically ill animals, the kind of animals that need thousands of dollars in care, and donates her time, expertise and surgical skills at no cost.

With the Spay Pride event we are able to support an area of animal rescue where we see a specific need. Last year, proceeds from Spay Pride allowed us to build a much-needed shade structure for animals at Apache Junction Animal Control. This year we’re working with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control’s (MCACC) East Valley Animal Care Center to upgrade their animal play yards.

What can we look forward to during the upcoming Spay Pride event at Eastmark?

The Spay Pride 5K Walk Run will take place on Feb. 17 right here at Eastmark around The Eastmark Great Park. The event is free for spectators, and there is a fee to participate in the chip-timed 5K. You can register online at spaypride.org.

We’re expecting about 300 to 700 runners and walkers. The morning will be full of family- and pet-friendly activities like free dog obedience demonstrations, performances by the Phoenix Area Disc Dogs, demos by the Mesa Police Department’s K-9 Unit, and a lot more.

During the week leading up to the race we’re looking to hold a few mini events at The ‘Mark based on interest from Eastmark residents:

  • MCACC is doing something they have never done before and it’s especially for Eastmark residents! They have offered to host a “Foster Fast Track” event the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 13 where residents can get foster training and be pre-approved as foster families in just one session.
  • Dr. DeCozio is available to provide a short lecture on first aid (including CPR) for pets. We’re looking at the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 11.
  • Creative Contributions is a not-for-profit group that’s offered to hold an event where families can make enrichment toys for the east side shelter animals. We are targeting Monday, Feb. 12 after 5 p.m.

If you think you’d like to attend any of these events, please contact Christi ASAP via email so she can gauge interest.

Do you have an extraordinary neighbor you’d like to see featured in an upcoming #iameastmark resident profile? Let us know.

I am Eastmark is a movement born from the aspirations of our most inspiring residents. These residents inspire not because of what they do, but because of who they are – ordinary people doing often extraordinary things. Their commitment to health and fitness, family and friends, kindness and compassion resonate and motivate others to follow suit. They embody the Eastmark spirit. They are Eastmark.

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