Local dogs race to raise funds for Marin Humane

Local dogs received awards and complimentary massages at a canine fun run Saturday in Santa Rosa, held to benefit Marin Humane.|

The only requirement? A dog that likes to run.

Local dogs and their enthusiastic owners gathered at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on Saturday to participate in the inaugural Canine Fun Run benefiting Marin Humane.

Held by Canine Commandos, a competitive sprint team for dogs, the event was held to introduce local dogs to racing, said Bill Cannedy, who runs the team.

About 30 dogs received their seconds of glory as they raced 100 yards on the Ghilotti Bros. Track of Champions. Senior dogs and puppies were sorted in separate groups, only running 50 yards.

After being caught by handlers, owners could see how fast their pup ran. Cannedy said some dogs can run as fast as 40 mph.

First, second and third place medals were handed out to the winners in each category. Dogs were separated into groups by size and age.

A “turtle award” was also awarded to the slowest pup in each flight.

“This is open to any dog, purebred, mixed breeds, mutts, rescues, whatever,” Cannedy said. “Any dog can participate, no experience or training is necessary to start.”

After running, canine entrants were treated to complimentary dog massages and nail clippings.

Cannedy, who grew up running with his dogs, said he hopes to see more family involvement on the Canine Commandos team, which starts virtual workouts as a group in August.

“If you spend just 15 minutes a week with your dog, you'll see tremendous improvement,” he said.

The canine track team will be training for multiple events and is accepting members now. For more information, visit fastdogsusa.com.

A ceremony at noon honored first responders, including local K-9 units, firefighters, police officers, members of the military and more.

Mako, a Belgian Malinois who unexpectedly died at age 3 in April 2020, was given a posthumous award for his work with the Windsor Police Department.

A police K-9 performed a demonstration for attendees, taking down an officer in a bite-proof suit.

A singer from the Air Force Band of the West performed the national anthem to start the day out.

Cannedy said dedicating the fun run to first responders was crucial to thank them for their community service.

“The first responders definitely deserve to be recognized. I mean, they’ve done so much in the last couple of years in Sonoma County,” Cannedy said.

Proceeds from the event went to help Marin Humane with adoption services and education. To learn more, visit marinhumane.org.

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