In this true story, a goldendoodle named Dozer runs away from home and then runs a half marathon, becoming a celebrated canine mascot and fundraiser for cancer in the process.
Dozer is outside in his own rural yard in Highland, Md., when runners from the Maryland Half Marathon begin running by. The spunky dog joins the group of 2,000 runners, continuing on for almost the entire 13-mile race. His family has no idea he left to join the race, and he is gone for 24 hours before finally limping home. Within a few days, race officials track him down and present Dozer with a marathon medal. An author’s note explains that Dozer was filmed crossing the finish line with the other runners, leading to hundreds of pledges in his name that raised $25,000 for a cancer center in Maryland. The text of the story is rather wordy but also amusing, with emphasis on all the smells that entice Dozer along on his run. Soft-focus illustrations add humor with anthropomorphic expressions on Dozer’s face and realistic views of marathon runners in action. The intriguing nature of Dozer’s celebrity and effectiveness as a fundraiser for the cancer center is conveyed through the author’s note rather than through the story and illustrations, but Dozer is a charmer nonetheless.
Owners of goldendoodles, Maryland residents and families with runners will find this story touching. (Picture book. 5-8)