By Kayleigh Rahn
K9 Kuno has invited all area dogs and their humans to the Kiddos & K9s Fun Run on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Tuscola’s Ervin Park.
The 4-year-old Belgian malinois has been a part of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for more than two years, and Deputy Kaitlin Washburn, who has been with the sheriff’s office since 2011, became the Douglas County K9 handler in February.
“Since I was a kid I always thought I wanted to be a veterinarian or a police office, and I felt like being a K9 officer was a way to bridge both worlds,” Washburn said. “He’s definitely not like any other animal I’ve had. Well, he’s not a pet. I have slowly figured out what he likes and his personality. He’s not adjusting to me; I’m adjusting to him.”
The sheriff’s office obtained and trained Kuno through a grant, although after the initial grant funded the K9, the ongoing dog maintenance falls to funds provided by community donation.
“We pay for him, his food, additional bills, and veterinarian bills through fundraising,” Washburn explained.
This will be the third fundraiser for Kuno, although this time around, Washburn says, will be a bit different than the previous events.
“I have small kids, and it is about Kuno. I thought he should be a part of it,” she explained. “People can come out and meet him and who see who the fundraiser is for by interacting with him. This year we have designed it to be family oriented for everyone in the community. We will have a 1-mile “fun run” that anyone can participate in, and we encourage you to bring your own canines to join you in this run.”
Registration for the dog-friendly one-mile fun run will be 9 a.m. at the South Pavilion. The run dogs and their humans will start at 10 a.m.
Following the fun run hamburgers and hotdogs will be ready for purchase, and furry family members will be welcome to show what they have on the dog agility course.
Children’s activities will include bounce houses (courtesy of Tuscola Home Center), face painting, a bubble show by Joyful Bubbles, and a demonstration by Deputy Washburn and K9 Kuno.
The fundraiser will also include prizes and a silent auction.
“Bring your dog and run the mile,” Washburn said. “I thought it would be nice to make it dog friendly since it is about a dog. We don’t have many dog-friendly events in the area, so this is unique in that way.”
Friendly dogs and humans should remember the city’s leash ordinance.
Washburn is in the process of creating “thin blue line” paracord collars for all dogs who are registered by Monday, Oct. 1.
Of course, dog ownership is not required to participate. Additional information regarding the fundraiser and registration can be found on the event Facebook page or by calling the sheriff’s office.