POLO — Dogs of all sizes and shapes wagged and panted their way through the 2002 Doggy Dash on Saturday at Polo High School, raising $1,000 for a local animal shelter to boot.
And the crew from the Wizard of Oz even made an appearance at the fundraiser hosted by members of the Polo High School Student Council.
“We had 80 participants today,” said Gina Cole, a PCHS teacher and student council adviser. “Our students really brought everything together today. We raised just over $1,000 for the Granny Rose Animal Shelter”
Granny Rose Animal Shelter is located just west of Dixon and serves Ogle, Lee and Whiteside counties. Saturday’s event included a 5K run, a 0.68-mile fun walk, agility course, and a costume contest.
And that’s where the Joines’ family shined when they and their canine partners arrived as some of the main characters from the Wizard of Oz.
Emily Joines, another PCHS teacher and co-organizer of the event, was Dorothy complete with red ‘glitterized’ sneakers.
“I already had paint on these shoes from when I was painting at home so I decided to paint them red and of course, I had to add the glitter,” said Emliy.
Her dog Eden was dressed as Glinda the Good Witch and her mom, Paula, was the Wicked Witch of the West with her dog Annie as Toto. Another Joines family member, Beth Manus of Tuscola was the Scarecrow with her dog Ginger wore a fur main as the Cowardly Lion. The troupe was topped off by Amelia Manus as a Munchkin.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Emily. “We wanted to make this a fun event and the kids did that.”
Participants walked a block south to the Polo Rehabilitation and Health Care Center where they were greeted by some residents who appreciated the licks from the canine participants.
One of the duos taking part in the stroll was Katelyn Rockwood of Polo and her three-legged dog, Willow.
“She broke her leg 5 years ago and she had to have it amputated,” said Katelyn.
Teah Almasy, a student council member, said she and her classmates enjoyed hosting the event.
“It was super fun and the turnout today was amazing,” she said. “We helped Ms. Joines and Mrs. Cole today by handing out bandanas.”
Joe and Ashley Lynch of Ottawa made the trip to Polo with their German Shepherds Apollo and Ava to show their support for Granny Rose. “My wife is from Dixon and we took part in some of their other fundraisers,” said Joe.
“We’d like to make this an annual event,” Joines said.