Many Cortez pet owners decided to start their 2017 Thanksgiving with a little exercise at the 14th annual Turkey Trot.
About 100 people and several dozen dogs participated in the 1-kilometer run around Parque de Vida, which supported For Pets Sake, a nonprofit humane society in Cortez. Many of the two-legged and four-legged runners dressed up as turkeys or pilgrims to add a festive air to the event. For some, the race is as much an annual tradition as pumpkin pie.
Lorri Beauchamp brought two miniature Australian shepherds, Kiva and Bo, who pulled a tiny wagon around the park. She said they’re easy to work with during the race because she and Bo’s owner, Peggy Littlejohn, regularly bring them to visit residents at assisted living centers and nursing homes throughout the county.
“They’re so used to doing therapy work that they’re pretty nonchalant,” she said.
Other pets came dressed up to match their owners. Jack Schuenemeyer, who wears a pilgrim outfit to the race every year, put a matching pilgrim collar on his black lab before starting the Trot.
Volunteers served hot apple cider to the human runners and treats to the canine ones before the race. Each runner also got a T-shirt with the registration fee.
While most of the pets that ran in this year’s Trot were dogs, For Pets Sake volunteer Becky Bonar said participants have brought many other kinds of animals in previous years, from miniature horses to hermit crabs. Cats don’t usually make good runners, she said.
Bonar has helped with the race almost every year since it started, although she said she missed the past two years while she was living in Texas.
“It’s a great way to start the day,” she said. “It’s so much fun. You see great costumes and interesting animals.”
About 15 businesses, including Good Life Pet Supplies and More, JC Pets and the Cortez Animal Hospital, sponsored the T-shirts and prizes the runners received.
The event raised a total of $3,420 for the humane society.
For Pets Sake offers foster care for dogs and cats in need of adoption, and also provides financial assistance for emergency veterinary care and other services. It has an all-volunteer staff based in Cortez.