(I dunno – do you?)
This morning I participated in the Mutt Strut 5K Run and Walk, the 14th annual event for FAMD, the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit, an agency dedicated to caring for and finding homes for adoptable animals.
There were actually two events held this morning: the first, my event, was the 5K Run/Walk at 8:00 a.m. and the second was the Mutt Strut, a 2.2 mile stroll which began at 9:30 a.m. For both events, participants were encouraged to bring their dogs and there were many vendors and activities which catered to the pooches. You may recall I scoped out this venue a couple of weeks ago as the event had an 8:00 a.m. start and I didn’t want to get lost and/or be late.
I had registered awhile ago, so I picked up my gear and swag bag (which doubled as a back pack and contained a bracelet that said “We Care”, beef jerkey treat, leash, poop bag and a pen). I’ll give all the doggy gear to my neighbor for “Woody” next time I see him.
The event started at 8:00 a.m. after we assembled near the start hoop and heard the national anthem. The speakers were loud and a husky, with eyes as blue as the sky, howled at the high notes. Everyone laughed at that.
We were told there would be no shotgun start as it would upset the dogs, so it was just “on your mark, get set, go” and this song blared on the speakers as the runners and walkers set off.
It was a gorgeous morning, but a bit on the chilly side (39 F/3.8 C), but that didn’t matter as it was so bright and sunny. This event is always held the second Saturday in May and I wanted to do it last year and register the day of the event, but it was a torrential rain that morning. The second event was cancelled due to thunderstorms.
The tee-shirts were bright yellow. Usually in an event of this type, you’d look out into the crowd and see a sea of yellow, but most people donned their shirts under their jackets or hoodies. The runners were a little braver and just sported the tee-shirt over their regular clothing.
I like walking in 5Ks and basically, I was there because it was a great fundraiser – last year the two events raised $100,000.00. Like with prior 5K events, I was not out to win any speed category, but just there to stroll in the wooded area, enjoy the ambiance and take some photos. Because I ambled along, I was the last one from the get-go, but that was okay, I enjoyed the scenery along the way and will return here to enjoy this trek again. I had worried the walk might be in a swampy area like I encountered a few weeks ago, but it was all on paved pathways, mostly away from Ford Field Park.
The long and winding road.
We left Ford Field Park, and after a short trek through the ‘hood, we headed for a more natural area. The path was woodsy and crossed a few wooden bridges.
A few of the runners were already on the return journey.
After arriving at the turnaround …
… I turned on my heel to head back. I could now take my time and savor the trip a little more – before I didn’t want to stray too far from the rest of the crowd and not know how to get back. This time I could enjoy the wooded path of the Rouge River Gateway Trail and I lingered at the Ford Estate grounds, admiring Fair Lane, the stately home of Henry Ford, (the founder of Ford Motor Company), and his wife Clara. The home and trees in blossom on the grounds were just exquisite. I hated to take the picture through the chain link fence, but couldn’t resist doing so as I couldn’t find an access point to gain entry to the grounds. The home is under restoration but the grounds are open. I think I would like to return and take a closer look.
It was back to the wooded area, retracing my steps to the starting point and just about the time I arrived, the awards ceremony for the Run/Walk were beginning. All of a sudden, the sun disappeared behind the clouds and it got downright dark – I was sure it was going to pour raining as we have rain in the forecast for later tonight and most of tomorrow and Monday.
The “stars” of this event.
Well, I guess the “stars” of the event could be perceived in many ways, i.e. kudos and awards were given to the first runners and walkers to return, as well as to fundraising groups and persons who had solicited donations for today’s walk. Essentially, each of us who paid a registration fee to participate in the event were “stars” as well. The mayor of Dearborn was there, as was Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. The ambassadors of the event were local TV celebrities Taryn Asher and Jason Carr, accompanied by their daughter and two fur kids.
But the real “stars” of the event, in my opinion, were these two pooches.
The first was this dog who was selling sloppy smooches for $1.00 a kiss. There was a line-up to get your face licked by this happy pup at the Kissing Booth. Your roving reporter passed because she wanted to remain “camera ready”. Unfortunately I caught her in a “smoochless” and rather disgruntled-looking pose.
And, there was this dog who seemed perpetually happy with everyone that stopped by to scratch an ear or pet him. This poor pooch had front legs that did not function, yet he got around with two wheels which propelled him forward. The tenacity of this fellow was amazing. I’ve seen pictures of such devices for dogs who are lame in the front or rear legs, but I’ve never have seen a dog using such a device. I tried to get over and speak with his owner/handler, but there was always a crowd around this pooch, so I had to settle for just a photo.
All shapes and sizes.
This is a 130-pound Bullmastiff. It’s the first time I saw this breed of dog. He was huge and drooling like crazy (and no he wasn’t near any of the food vendors). I wasn’t the only person that tried to take his picture and camera shutters were clicking and all of a sudden he shook that massive head. Drool went flying everywhere. (It would be the likes of an alpaca spitting at you.) Ew! I stepped back swiftly and checked the camera lens – whew, it was dry. All us would-be photographers just looked at one another and moved on to the next cute or unusual pooch. (Nice to see I captured the spittle dribbles in these photos.)
This pair of Giant Alaskan Malamutes looked like they were comfy and cozy with all that fur, especially when the sun dipped behind the clouds. You’ll note the sign on their collar they are service dogs in training. This was a good event to test their mettle when they see other dogs.
A few more pooches caught my attention and I noticed a lot of Pit Bull Terriers at this event today.
Considering all the dogs, of all breeds, as well as shapes and sizes, there was no fighting amongst them. Each owner had to show proof that shots were up to date, before getting into the event. I ended up with many photo bombs as the dogs’ heads were swiveling around to watch one another, or even to enjoy the savory smell of hot dogs cooking on a grill. (There were plenty of dachshunds, long-haired and smooth, at the event, so I hope these doxies didn’t get too upset by that hot dog vendor!)
Free sniffs (no, it’s not what you think).
Speaking of sniffing, this part of the post is not about tired jokes of how dogs get acquainted with each other. No, not at all. There were about 25 vendors set up on the Ford Field Park grounds. You could get a caricature of your dog or even a painting done of your fur kid. There were many doggie treat booths, most of them featuring healthy treats for your pet. Some treats were a little decadent like these:
As I approached this vendor, a hungry German Shepherd eyed a treat bag that balanced precariously on the end of a table. Just one nudge of his big nose, would have set it flying off the table and landing at his feet. The owner, holding her dog’s leash tightly, asked if there were samples and was told with a wink “sorry, no samples, but all sniffs are for free!”
So, I walked the 5K course which is 3.2 miles …
… but I still had some steps to rack up to get to six miles, which I try to achieve each weekend day. I walked around the vendor area and then headed back toward the first wooded area to revisit it again. The entire walk was lovely, but I never saw a single squirrel or bird and thought that was odd. Maybe they stayed up in their nests in their jammies on this chilly morning.
[Header image and logo from FAMD]