Drizzle didn’t matter to Doggy Dash participants

Samantha Adams of Rock Falls and her dogs Equinox and Arty (dressed as a pig and a chicken) wait for the start of the Polo Student Council's Doggy Dash held Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. Also pictured is Murphy, belonging to Kye Escobar, 7, of Polo who was dressed as a hot dog.

POLO – They came as hot dogs, escaped inmates, and even the all-knowing Yoda – and when it was all said and done, drizzle didn’t matter to the canines who took part in the 2023 Doggy Dash on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Despite a steady light rain, 50 pups and their owners arrived outside the Polo Rehabilitation and Health Care Center Saturday morning for the event, which included a costume contest, 5K run and one mile walk – all to benefit a local animal shelter.

This year’s event, organized and run by members of Polo High School’s Student Council, marks its second year.

“We had 50 participants and 10 student council helpers. We will be donating $500 to Happy Tails Humane Society,” said Emily Meinert, Polo HIgh School teacher and student council adviser.

Under the canopy of the rehab and care center, the first order of business after the unofficial “meet-greet-bark-sniff” was the costume contest.

The best Single entry went to Jeff Bargar of Polo as a Marcos football coach with Lani, dressed as a mini Marcos football player.

The best Double entry was awarded to Kye and Dom Escobar, ages of 7 and 11, as mustard and ketchup with their dogs, Mario and Murphy, dressed as hot dogs in a bun.

The award for best Small Group was won by Julie, Brady, and Evynn Sanders as police and prisoners. Their two dogs, Havek and Rukus, were in tow as a police officer and inmate.

The overall winner was the Joines family with their cast of Star Wars characters.

Paula Joines with Ziggy and Annie, along with Kevin, Beth, and Amelia Manus with Ginger, and Sean and Emily Meinert with Eden came dressed as Star War characters including a stormtrooper, Jedi knight, Ewok and Emily’s dog, Eden, as Yoda.

Polo Rehabilitation and Health Care Center residents could watch the wild and wet action from the comfort of the center’s lobby.

Katelyn Rockwood of Polo and her three-legged dog, Willow, was one of the participants again this year. Willow, who broke her leg 6 years ago and had to have it amputated, didn’t have any issue joining in the unofficial sniffing session that each dog demanded prior to the start of official festivities.

After the costume contest, participants left the covered and dry entry way venturing out into the rain for the 5K and walk.

Results of the 5K were:

Age 18 and younger: 1. Ryder Faivre, 2. Easton Faivre, 3. Ashlyn Rinaldi; 19-30: 1. Wyatt Cross; and 31-60: 1. Joe Meridian, 2-3, Kelly and Jon Mandrell.

“When we started this event last year we wanted to make it a fun event and the kids did that again,” Meinert said.

Happy Tails Humane Society, located at 1408 McNeil Road, Rock Falls, is a limited-intake, no-kill facility that shelters and cares for stray and abandoned dogs and cats until they are adopted into loving, permanent homes.

“We promote pet adoption and humane education. Happy Tails is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization,” according to its website.

For more information, call or text 815-626-2994.

Last year’s proceeds went to the Granny Rose Animal Shelter in Dixon.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.