Whether you prefer running on two legs or four, Central Park in Valparaiso was the place to be on May 20th. The Valpo Police Department’s K-9 unit held its 5th annual run/walk, 5K-9 Guardians of the Night.
There were plenty of experienced racers in the park, as well as some novice runners.
“This is my first race,” said Brian Nosbusch, a Valpo resident, “I lost some weight and my friends convinced me, plus it’s great to support the police.”
Before the race began, Chief of Police, Michael Brickner, made a few statements. One of which included special recognition for K-9 officer Femmy who is retiring this year. The Valpo PD has single master dogs, so Femmy will live out retirement with Officer Joe Hall.
The annual 5k event is the core fundraiser for the K-9 unit.
“This is where almost all of our funds come from,” said Michael Cairns, Patrolman with Valpo PD, “We’re hoping to get another dog or maybe two more.”
“It’s about 15,000 for a police dog and they are 100% supported through donations,” Brickner said, “and without the help from the community businesses it would really be hard to have a program like this.”
One of those community businesses is Vale Park Animal Hospital.
“We see all the Valpo dogs,” said Katie Moench, a Veterinary Assistant at Vale Park Animal Hospital, “We treat them and give them heartworm preventatives so we’re pretty familiar with all the dogs and their handlers.”
Theron Arndt came to the event with Logan, his Great Dane in a pair of sunglasses to help support a great cause on a great day.
“We like him to meet other people and dogs,” Arndt said about what brought them to the event, “he spends a lot of time visiting nursing homes, so it’s good for him to be around people.”
There were plenty of people and dogs for Logan to meet. At 6:00pm runners met at the starting line for the gun to go off. Fifteen minutes later, Officer John Cordova and Officer Jerame Simpson led the group of dog walkers with Sabre and Rico, their K9 partners, respectively.
Central Park was full of canine excitement before and after the run/walk. When the runners and walkers returned there were snacks available and a Valpo Velvet ice cream truck. Computerized Timing for the runners was provided by T&H Timing and the band Rockstar Rodeo performed.
“We really can’t say thank you enough for all the community support,” Brickner said.