We can’t deny that dogs keep us active. Studies show that having a dog improves cardiovascular health, reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure, not to mention the overall benefits of having such a loyal companion by your side. If you’re a runner and a dog parent like me, you can also benefit from running with your dog by joining dog-friendly races, fundraising for animal shelters or even volunteering to run with shelter dogs.
Dog-Friendly Running Events
Paws Chicago 5K Walk or Run For Their Lives
Montrose Bay, Chicago
July 24, 2016
Join the 5K pet-friendly walk with your pup or run the 5K human-only run to help save homeless animals at PAWS Chicago’s 16th annual race event. Athletes and animal lovers of all experience levels are welcome! Race day activities include live entertainment, kids’ games, and even a vacation getaway raffle.
Family Dogs Fun Walk + 5K Run
Mt. Tabor Park, OR
July 31, 2016
Enjoy views of Portland and Mt. Hood along a 1-mile paved loop around the summit of Mt. Tabor with your pup. Then get some mileage on your own and head out on a fun 5K run. Activities include a dog costume contest and a raffle. Proceeds benefit the Family Dogs New Life Shelter.
The Good Dog – Dirty Dog 5K
Granite Bay, CA
August 14, 2016
The third annual 5K welcomes runners and their furry friends for a fun walk and run event. Each dog that finishes first, second, or third in their category (categories are broken up by weight) will receive an award!
2016 Dog Jog National Mill Dog Rescue
August 20, 2016
Colorado Springs, CO
100% of the proceeds from this dog-friendly 5K/1K walk/run benefit the National Mill Dog Rescue which aims to find loving homes for abandoned breeding dogs who have spent their lives in puppy mills. The event features a dog and owner look alike contest, best kisser, best dog singer, and best costume awards.
Dog Jog 5K & Family Fun Run
August 27, 2016
The first annual 5K race takes place in August! Runners, their families, and four-legged friends can all join in on the fun to support educational initiatives and local animal groups. Awards include the fastest dog, the slowest dog, and best human and dog duo costume!
Race for the Rescues
Pasadena, CA on October 15, 2016 &
Santa Barbara, CA on December 3, 2016
The fundraising event includes a 5K, 10K, Kids’ Fun Run, and 1K Dog Walk and has raised $3 million to help animals in need. This large event aims to be fun for the entire family as long as pet owners follow rules and regulations for race day. Please read the list thoroughly before joining in on the festivities with your dog.
Jog with your Dog 5K & 1 Mile Walk
Mountain Home, AR
September 24, 2016
Their tagline is “for dogs and the people who love them”! Race, walk, and raise money for the Humane Society of North Central Arkansas and the Mountain Home Dog Park. Awards include the fastest dog and the slowest dog and may also include the smallest participant and largest participant. No dog, no problem! The Humane Society of North Central Arkansas will bring adoptable dogs for those looking to adopt. You can come looking for a dog, adopt a dog, jog with that dog, and bring your new pup home!
The Rescue Run 5K
September 25, 2014
Dogs aren’t allowed on the race course, BUT dogs are welcome at the start and finish of the race and proceeds from the race support the dog rescue organization, The Monster Milers.
Fundraising for Dogs in Need
Aside from actually running with our dog, you can also help countless other dogs who need homes by raising money at your next race. A number of shelters around the country organize running teams to fundraise at local races. Do a search online and you may find one near you. Some of the teams near where I live in New York include the following:
If you join Team ASPCA, you can get guaranteed entry into a number of races plus the camaraderie of training with other dog-loving runners. You’ll meet your fitness goals while also raising funds to support the ASPCA mission of helping animals in need.
Running for Rescues
Money raised through Running for Rescues gets distributed out to small grassroots organizations working to help animals in need. Just pick a race you’d like to run and then fundraise for them knowing that your money will go directly to animals in need.
Miles for Paws
If you live in New York, you can help animals in need by becoming a “Pack Member” with Miles for Paws running team of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. The organization works with over 150 rescue groups and shelters and since 2003 has saved over 275,000 animals.
Run With Shelter Dogs
Want a dog running partner, but don’t have a dog? You can volunteer at certain shelters with programs that match dogs with runners. It’s not just good for your health, it’s great for shelter dogs who are otherwise confined to a small space for most of the day. Below is a list of a few organizations around the country that pair volunteer runners with shelter dogs.
Launched in 2011, the program has paired hundreds of trained volunteers to run or walk with shelter dogs. Distance can be anywhere from a short walk to a few miles of running, depending on the situation. After a volunteer attends a training session, they are free to volunteer at their leisure, and the organization asks that volunteers commit to at least five hours a month. Just a little of your time can do so much for dogs in need!
Dogs on the Run
Run, jog, or walk with shelter dogs every day of the week at designated parks throughout Charlotte. The adoptable dogs come from Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control and need exercise after being confined in kennels for long periods of time. The program hopes to encourage volunteers to not only run with the dogs but to adopt them too!
In Our Hands Rescue – Miles for Mutts
New York, NY
Volunteers are asked to either help run with large dogs to adoption events since they aren’t allowed on the subway, or to run with small dogs at the adoption events in order to help them expend their nervous energy. Volunteer runners can also help by running with dogs being fostered in small apartments to get their much needed exercise.
Featured Image: @DogJog2015/Instagram