Dogs and humans invited to participate Oct. 20
JOHNSON CITY — The Student Veterans Association at East Tennessee State University and Mountain Empire Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MECMOAA) will co-host the annual Maj. Stephen T. Sharar Run for the Dogs 5K on Saturday, Oct. 20.
The 5K race will be held on ETSU’s campus and will begin adjacent to Jack Vest Drive, behind Knight’s Pizza. Check-in starts at 9 a.m. followed by the race at 10 a.m. Runners are encouraged to bring their dogs.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the “Puppies Behind Bars” program, which places professionally trained dogs with combat veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan who have suffered a physical injury, including traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Puppies Behind Bars is a program based in New York, but serves veterans across the country,” said Sara McNany, president of MECMOAA. “They take puppies into prisons to train them as service dogs, and after the main training, the veteran then does six weeks of training with the dog before becoming its owner.”
The service dogs learn 85 standard commands such as retrieving objects and turning on and off lights, as well as five specific commands to assist wounded warriors returning with PTSD and TBI. The dogs bring hope and pride to their trainers, and independence and security to those they serve.
To register for the Maj. Stephen T. Sharar Run for the Dogs 5K, visit www.active.com and search for “Run for the Dogs.” The cost for students and veterans is $20. General admission is $25 for early registration and $30 the day of the race. T-shirts are included in registration and can be picked up before or after the race.
Veterans and volunteers will guide runners in the right direction to finish the race. Snacks and water will be provided. For more information, call 423-202-8162 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.