Dozer the dog hosts Maryland Half Marathon

Last year, Dozer the dog trotted his way into the hearts of many.

On a normally uneventful Sunday afternoon last May, Rosana Dorsett called outside for her 3-year-old goldendoodle. Dozer had bolted through his invisible fence to join a field of 2,000 at mile five of the Maryland Half Marathon. He easily kept pace with the runners.

"He looked great. He looked better than most of the people," said Brooke Tyson of Clarksville.

Because of his impromptu run and picture-perfect finish at last year's Maryland Half Marathon, Dozer now has 16,000 Facebook fans and has raised more than $30,000 for the University of Maryland's Greenebaum Cancer Center, the race beneficiary.

"The awareness he has given to the race, and to the hospital, and he amount of money he's raised for the cancer center is just phenomenal," said Jon Sevel, the race's co-chairman.

Dozer is so popular that he hosted this year's race and inspired "Dozer's Dash," an eight-mile race within the half marathon that begins where Dozer began his portion of the run last year.

More than 1,700 people participated in this year's race, which was held in the Maple Lawn community in Howard County. Organizers are hopeful that the race raised more than $200,000 for the cancer center.

Dozer was on stage at the start of this year's race, which took place over the weekend, and had his own "Dozer's Doghouse" tent to greet people in.

"I think it's great. Dozer raised so much money, and he brought me here to run the race," said Tara Inverso of Germantown.

For doctors and patients at the cancer center, it's the way Dozer has inspired others to give back that means the most.

"Every little bit really does make a difference for the patients," said cancer survivor Amy Babst.

Dozer spends hours congratulating runners and taking photos with fans.

"[It's] pretty cool that he's doing all these great things and inspiring people to do great things," said Rosana Dorsett, Dozer's owner.