Army Dog Center Working Dogs he Saturday morning Colorado air was cool and crisp — perfect weather for a run in the park. Hundreds of leashed dogs wagged tails, panted with excitement, and often whined impatiently, looking up with undeniable puppy eyes, begging to be let free to run and play with all the other dogs. Their owners, current and former service members, along with friends and Family, gathered outside the Iron Horse Physical Fitness Center, March 9, 2019, to participate in this year’s War Dog Memorial 5K Run, in honor of military working dogs.
Families Run to Honor Army Dog Center Military Working Dogs
The event, sponsored by the Fort Carson Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, drew over 300 runners and so many breeds of dogs in all colors, shapes and sizes. No one was exempt from bending down to scratch behind an ear or two. With National K9 Veteran’s Day observed March 13, the run is an important event for this community, said David Falls, the FMWR’s event coordinator. The War Dog Memorial run is “the military working dog’s parade” here on Fort Carson.
“We wanted to honor those dogs that have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Falls said. The morning began with a military working dog demonstration, just before the run took place. “People are always amused by the aggression portion of the demonstration,” said Sgt. Michael Ramirez of the 69th Military Working Dog Detachment, who served as the non commissioned officer responsible for overseeing the demonstration.
In the biting training exercise, an awed crowd watched as handler Spc. Dante Jones gave the command “off leash,” and his black Belgian Malinois charged handler Spc. Taj Jones, who wore a special suit to protect him from harm as the Malinois took him down.
The Army Dog Center biting training demonstrates what would happen if a suspect was fleeing and neutralizing the threat required that level of force, Ramirez said. Even though the run was not a competition, there were serious runners competing for bragging rights, like 2nd Lt. Michael Kecken from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. “My dog is a pretty good runner,” Kecken said. “We finished second overall.” For others, the run was not just a walk in the park — even if their human counterparts were in prime physical condition, short paws made the 5K a bit too challenging for some canine companions.
Such was the case for Col. David Zinn, commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, who came out to run with his son and his beagle.
“He only made it about a mile, and then he was done,” said Zinn, whose beagle rested comfortably in his arms, happy to be carried, belly up, with tongue lolling and the cool wind in his fur. “We had to carry him the rest of the way, but he’s a good fellow.” In the end, the point was to have fun, said Rick Kazlauskas, a Navy retiree, who recently moved to the area with his family.
“It’s our first event here on Fort Carson,” Kazlauskas said. “Our dog got to have a blast with our Family, while celebrating the dogs that made our lives safe overseas.” After the run, both dogs and owners had a chance to rest inside the Iron Horse Physical Fitness Center. There, kiosks were set up many Army service organizations, including Army Community Service, the Exchange, and the Army Wellness Center.
Additionally, attractions such as a bounce house, caricature artists, raffles and contests, as well as paw painting were available for Families to enjoy.
Plenty of toys and treats for dogs were also handed out to attendees.
“I’m happy to see so many Families turn out on this beautiful weathered Saturday morning and enjoy a jog with their Families and their pets,” said Col. Brian Keith Wortinger, Fort Carson’s garrison commander. “It’s a great opportunity for the community to come together and honor those who served, including the animals.” Read More…….