It's four o'clock. Do you know where your dog is?
The owners of Dozer, a 3-year-old goldendoodle from Fulton, Md., didn't know the answer to that question on Sunday. Unbeknownst to them, Dozer escaped his invisible fence and joined the 2,000-plus runners competing in the Maryland Half Marathon, which benefits the University of Maryland's Greenebaum Cancer Center. Dozer joined the fray about five miles into the race, which is held in Howard County, Md., and he crossed the finish line at the 2:14:24 mark.
Maryland Half Marathon co-founder Jon Sevel said many runners spotted Dozer in various places on the course, at times lapping up water from cups at rest areas, but nobody realized the dog was running solo. After running the final seven miles or so of the event, Dozer found his own way home Monday morning. He's in good health after a precautionary trip to the vet and he received a medal from race organizers on Thursday.
"This is a very sweet dog," said University of Maryland Medical Center spokeswoman Karen Warmkessel. "When I saw him today, he looked great. He was really active, and now he's raising money for cancer research."
To that point, Dozer now has his own runner's page on the Maryland Half Marathon website, where fans can make a donation to the UM Greenebaum Cancer Center.
Naturally, Page 2 wonders if the Maryland Half Marathon might create a special division for animals in the future.
"At the very least, Dozer will have his own bib number -- K9," said Sevel. "We will definitely have him involved."