On a normally uneventful Sunday afternoon last month, Rosana Dorsett called outside for her 3-year-old goldendoodle Dozer.
She couldn’t find Dozer, which seemed odd to her since she has an electric fence and the dog isn’t known to stray.
After a frantic e-mail to neighbors, Dorsett learned from a neighbor that there was a race going on that day and dog that looked like Dozer was seen crossing the finishing line.
“We started putting two and two together -- oh my gosh, he ran the race?” she said.
Dozer had bolted through his invisible fence to join a field of two thousand runners at mile five of the Maryland Half Marathon. He easily kept pace with the runners.
“He was just looking up and looking around at things and not paying attention to anyone in particular,” said runner Dr. Kevin Cullen.
At two hours and 14 minutes, he crossed the finish line with dirty paws and wide, goofy grin that only a dog could have after such a feat.
Somehow, he found his way back home overnight, arriving dog-tired. Dorsett said he appeared to be in terrible condition and she was concerned for his health. He slept for about a day and a half afterward.
And after a visit to the vet, and rehydrating, Dozer was ready to run again.
He’s since received a race medal and his finish line video has gone viral on Youtube. And he has 800 Facebook.com fans. He’s also the race’s top dog in fundraising for the University of Maryland’s Greenbaum Cancer Center, where he has his own fundraising page.
“He’s raised over $13,000,” said Michael Greenbaum, co-founder of Maryland Half Marathon.
Dorsett says Dozer’s longest training run for this race was a mile. But she’s already started training him so they can run all 13.1 miles next year.
“A dog, especially like Dozer, is a great way for people to relate, come in, open their hearts,” she said.