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Two- and four-legged runners raise money for shelter in Grand Forks 5K

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Collies and boxers and labs, oh my.

From tiny Chihuahuas to towering Great Pyrenees, dogs of all breeds gathered Saturday morning in Lincoln Drive Park ready to run, walk or trot in the Grand Forks Dog Jog 5K event.

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About 150 canines accompanied by their owners poured into the park for the race, organized by a UND class to raise money for the Circle of Friends Humane Society.

“We know that 5Ks do very good in Grand Forks,” said Bailee Vaughn, a student organizer. “But we wanted to have that special, extra experience … so we decided why not bring some dogs in.”

Like some participants, Jordan Kadlecek and boyfriend Mike Hons had run plenty of races before Saturday’s event.

“We’ve done lots of races, but not with the dogs so it’s a good opportunity to get them out and interacting with other dogs,” she said. “We plan on running the whole thing, but we’ll see how they do.”

The couple’s 1-year-old border collie, Twizzler, and 3-year-old German shepherd, Kona, were their racing companions. Hons and Kona led the pack from the starting line and were the first to finish the course.

Helping paws

While it was a day of firsts for many runners and their pets, it was also a day of meeting old and new friends.

Barb Scholler of Grand Forks ran the race with her two dogs, Ginger and Bella. Scholler adopted Ginger, a yellow Labrador, from Circle of Friends in 2001.

“I volunteer there too, but we try to support it in other ways whenever we can,” she said.

Ginger received a warm hello from Arlette Moen, executive director of the shelter, which accepts between 1,700 and 1,800 animals per year. About half of those intakes are dogs.

“It’s fun to see dogs who are loved and been well taken care of,” Moen said of the mob of pets surrounding her.

The nine-person UND class, consisting of recreation and tourism majors, wasn’t required to help a charity through the event, but Vaughn said once the class settled on a theme, its members wanted its event to benefit Circle of Friends.

The students created green bandanas marked with a single white paw print for the race’s four-legged participants. They also provided pet waste bags — just in case a few participants needed to make a pit stop along the course.

Other fun

The festivities didn’t stop once everyone crossed the finish line.

In addition to the race, organizers also included a best trick and “dogelganger” contest. The second contest aimed to find dog owners who looked the most like their pets.

Deana Miller and her Chihuahua-miniature pinscher mix, Dexter, tied for first with another group. Miller wore her hair in pigtails and tucked the locks back into her hair bands to create a pair of ears.

Dexter wasn’t jumping for joy over the win, but instead seeking a rest in his owner’s arms.

“He’s a little tired,” Miller said. “He’s had quite the day,”

The other winners, Julia Ellingboe and her dogs, Halli — a boxer, lab and pit-bull mix — and Pomeranian Evvie, all sported golden hair and fur.

After the race, many dogs took a cue from Dexter and rested on the grass or in their owner’s lap. Some made friends at the communal water dish and still others like Halli were jumping around ready for more.

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Brandi Jewett
Brandi Jewett is an enterprise reporter for the Grand Forks Herald with beats focusing on northwest Minnesota, unmanned aircraft systems and East Grand Forks city government. Other positions she has held at the Herald include Grand Forks city government reporter, general assigment reporter and news intern. A native of Valley City, N.D., 24 years worth of winters haven't scared her out of the state yet. Follow her work at www.grandforksherald.com and on Twitter and Instagram: @brandijewett. Send tips and story ideas to bjewett@gfherald.com. 
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