He didn't get his name called out!
June 25, 2011 10:51 PM   Subscribe

Dozer, a 3-year old dog from Maryland, finishes a half-marathon Dozer somehow got out of his yard and decided to join a half-marathon in progress right by his house. So far, Dozer has helped raise $14,000 for cancer research. He was later given a finishers medal.

Facebook page with photos and more info.
posted by Gilbert (44 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Hee. Good story -- thanks for posting it.
posted by Zed at 11:02 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dozer the Dozerian?
posted by oonh at 11:02 PM on June 25, 2011 [12 favorites]

Dozer somehow got out of his yard

Imagine you're a bored suburban dog. When there's a squirrel across the street, an Invisible Fence will usually stop you. When there are thousands of people running by your house, it usually won't.
posted by killdevil at 11:06 PM on June 25, 2011 [5 favorites]

The video made me giggle like a fool. He has this look like "Going over here now? Alright! Whatever you guys say!"
posted by gc at 11:17 PM on June 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Good puppy.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:28 PM on June 25, 2011

I'm trying to figure out what went on in his little doggie mind to make him not only bolt over the fence line but keep going for the whole race. I guess he got caught up with all the people running by & just figured "well, if everybody's running I might as well run too!" and once he was out on the road he just got propelled along watching the faces of all the runners and getting approval from them as they ran.
posted by scalefree at 11:39 PM on June 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

That's an interesting question, scalefree. I think it may have just been pack instinct? This dog ran more than seven miles for no good reason, and yet in every picture I find, he's got a smile going. Some of the articles mention that he stopped for water, but apparently he stuck to the path of the race, even following the persons to the finish line.
posted by Gilbert at 11:52 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

This. Stuff like this. Dozer, just chilling in the yard, sees thousands of people running, decides it looks like a hoot and punctures his invisible fence through sheer unbridled enthusiasm. Then he heads home once it's all over, all in a days work. Stuff like this is why I'll always love dogs. They're straight up cooler than every person I've ever met.

I think it may have just been pack instinct?

I'll bet that's part of what's going on here, for sure. A couple years ago, I was hanging out with this couple who had a lab / Irish wolfhound mix who did not like me at all. He would growl and bark and even nip when I visited, especially when I got too close to his rawhide bones. Not even snacks could win him over - indeed, it began to look like he was growling extra to get more shakedown treats.

It wasn't until I rode bikes with my friends and their massive dog running alongside us that he began to trust me. Time was, he'd try and bark me down the minute I hit the door - after we ran as a pack a couple times, he started showing me his belly.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:04 AM on June 26, 2011 [29 favorites]

pure awesome! another pr triumph for dogs over cats :-)
posted by davidmsc at 1:04 AM on June 26, 2011 [5 favorites]

Hey c'mon, leave cats out of this.
posted by randomyahoo at 1:09 AM on June 26, 2011 [5 favorites]

Bummer they were using an invisible fence. Those things are pretty barbaric, imho.
posted by smoke at 1:37 AM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

That'd usually be my default position, too, smoke, but when you consider that the alternative is being hit by a car or lost in the forest with a bitter old dog and a sassy cat trying to find your way home, I think the mild electric shock is preferable.

It's amazing how much more difficult it is for humans to run long distances. I know he's only "run" twice as far as the finishers, but he looks relaxed and probably happy to go another 20 miles. Give me my old Great Dane any day. She'd gallop away but she'd be exhausted after a couple hundred metres and unless it was pitch black she couldn't hide.
posted by doublehappy at 2:14 AM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's amazing how much more difficult it is for humans to run long distances.

Actually, there's a lot of evidence that humans evolved for long distance running. For one, our cooling system is much more effective than that of a dogs. A dog is covered in fur and only really vents heat through his mouth. Humans have very little hair and are sweat helps us cool over the entire skin surface. From Wikipedia:

The construction of the human pelvis differs from other primates, as do the toes. As a result, humans are slower for short distances than most other animals, but are among the best long-distance runners in the animal kingdom.[59] Humans' thinner body hair and more productive sweat glands also helps avoid heat exhaustion while running for long distances. For this reason persistence hunting was most likely a very successful strategy for early humans – in this method, prey is chased until it is literally exhausted.

There are still some villages in Africa that hunt this way.

I think the dog looks relaxed because he wasn't running to win :) Probably stopped for plenty of drinks and took his time. A quick Google search will show that there are lots of concerns about long distance running with a dog.
posted by sbutler at 2:40 AM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

12 comments in and no True American Dog link? For shame!
posted by mhjb at 2:49 AM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Imagined expression from Dozer upon finishing the half marathon: "What? That's it? You're stopping? Anyone else here wanna go for a jog?"
posted by ShutterBun at 3:24 AM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

*It's amazing how much more difficult it is for humans to run long distances.*

The dog didn't run. It walked rather quickly.
posted by flif at 4:12 AM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow, that was a comprehensive dismantling of my comment. I'll be wikipedia..ing every assertion I make from now on!

Incidentally, I have a deformation of my pelvis and toes which makes my body totally unsuitable for running, so if you reread my comment with the word "humans" replaced with "me" it becomes accurate.
posted by doublehappy at 4:31 AM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

yet in every picture I find, he's got a smile going.

Not to take away anything from Dozer the Dozerian and his awesome achievement, and "damn you!" to all the haters, but let's be honest: one animal's "smile" is another's "this is just how I look when I'm exercising." Lots of dogs have more or less "perma-smiles" just based on how their heads are built. And I have to believe that a lot of the good PR that dolphins get is based on the fact that they have "smiles" permanently carved into their mouths.

I bet he was digging it the whole time, though.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:35 AM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't take it too hard, doublehappy. As you're probably aware, there's often a big difference between "stuff the human body is evolutionarily good at" and "stuff we feel like doing if we don't have to."

Maybe we could outrun a dog if we wanted to. But the fact of the matter is: dogs just WANT it more.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:41 AM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

STUPID FUCKING DOG, he totally didn't stretch, going to have shin splints and side-stiches by mile 5.
posted by Fizz at 4:42 AM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

My overwhelming impression was that he was thinking, "FINALLY they're doing something that MAKES SENSE!"
posted by kyrademon at 4:45 AM on June 26, 2011 [24 favorites]

I run very long distance races. Last fall I was running a 100 mile race in Oklahoma. Somewhere south of mile 40 I kept noticing a black lab at the aid stations. I didn't really pay it much attention. I figured it was with one of the crews, and that it was getting driven from station to station. But then it became clear that the dog was following runners from station to station. It would hang out at a station for a bit, and then decide to leave at some point and it would just follow whatever runner was leaving when it wanted to go. He ended up following me for a while, toward the end of the race, but then as I was passing someone else he stayed with them.

Anyway, the finish of a hundred miler looks a lot like a triage tent after a minor natural disaster. This dog, who ran at least 60 miles at a fairly good clip, was wiped out and had some serious problems at the end. I have no idea how he kept going given his condition at the end. He couldn't get off the floor. He had not tag, and he could have been from anywhere on a 100 mile stretch of Route 66, so there was no way to return him. Another runner adopted him.
posted by OmieWise at 4:46 AM on June 26, 2011 [32 favorites]

Yeah... the footage of Dozer trotting across the finish line is really adorable. The part of the journey I wonder about is his adventure home, though. That's so great.

That's hilarious, OmieWise... I could totally see my stupid dog, also a lab, getting caught up in that kind of race. That's what I dig about labs in general -- they're not afraid to whole heartedly pursue fun.
posted by ph00dz at 5:08 AM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think the dog looks relaxed because he wasn't running to win

He still got a PR.
posted by Trurl at 5:32 AM on June 26, 2011

Hooray for happy dog stories!
posted by Glinn at 5:40 AM on June 26, 2011

2 canine posts in a row? We've definitely hit the dog days of summer, I guess. (Also, there is no Dozer. Only drool.)
posted by crunchland at 6:08 AM on June 26, 2011 [7 favorites]

doublehappy, it's hardly a complete dismantling. A sled dog, for instance, could outrun and out-distance any human you would care to name.
posted by indubitable at 6:27 AM on June 26, 2011

My malamute agrees. This is something I could see her doing.
posted by cj_ at 6:37 AM on June 26, 2011

The dog lives in the present.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:50 AM on June 26, 2011

I love the picture of him with his medal. He's all, "These humans are making a fuss over something I did; I'd better look serious."
posted by quiet coyote at 6:53 AM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

I ran this race and finished about 2 minutes behind Dozer. I first encountered him at the six-mike mark, where he'd run with small groups for about 20 seconds, go back where he started, and do it again. Hilarious. I encountered him again at the end, where he dusted my sorry slow ass with a strong bolt to the finish. It was the happiest dog encounter I've ever had while running and I was glad to have run with Dozer, however briefly. Such a good boy.
posted by cheapskatebay at 6:54 AM on June 26, 2011 [29 favorites]

Sorry about the mobile link but for more on human long distance running and endurance hunting watch this beautiful sequence from life of mammals.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:36 AM on June 26, 2011

He's an adorable doggy. I love the comments from the other runners over here.

Rhonda:” I ran alongside that dog quite a bit of the race. He was so excited to see so many humans running!”

sounds about right!
posted by jamesonandwater at 7:41 AM on June 26, 2011

So I read the comments from the runners and one of them described this as a "historic event" and my first instinct was to come over all snarky, like, seriously? Historic?

And then I thought about it for a minute, and thought about the alternate universe where important history is made when a dog joins some runners to run a charity race and I was like, man, that would be cool. I want to live in that universe.
posted by NoraReed at 8:15 AM on June 26, 2011 [6 favorites]

Unbeknownst to them, Dozer escaped his invisible fence and joined the 2,000-plus runners competing in the Maryland Half Marathon

Dog gone.

(WRT the invisible fences, they're not that barbaric--it's a very mild shock, and once the dog figures out that it won't really hurt him, he may choose to ignore it, which is just what Dozer did, and I've seen other dogs do so as well.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:09 AM on June 26, 2011

I work at the University of Maryland Medical Center and have followed this story since it first came out. It's been wonderful to see the positive reactions from two different communities - dog lovers and runners, where I learned that Dozer is a actually a bandit!.
A great morale booster for everyone at our hospital, Dozer has become an unofficial mascot for our Cancer Center and has raised over $16,000 for cancer research.
posted by forward1 at 10:29 AM on June 26, 2011 [5 favorites]

Metafilter: a comprehensive dismantling of your comment
posted by finite at 11:21 AM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

Dozers ain't gonna doze.
posted by schmod at 12:06 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

current mental image: hypothetical stuffy and officious marathon administrator carefully examining rulebooks, eventually being forced to admit that "nothing in the rules says a dog can't run a half-marathon."
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:48 PM on June 26, 2011 [4 favorites]

this is the best photo yet
posted by liza at 3:23 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Awesome! This is a cool thing to hear about the morning after playing some Chrono Trigger!
posted by ignignokt at 6:53 AM on June 27, 2011

Liza: That photo is effing epic.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:58 AM on June 27, 2011

Good dog! And he looks so happy and pleased with himself.
posted by Sassenach at 11:09 AM on June 27, 2011

That TAIL! wuzza wuzza fluffy tail silly beast whooza fine boy then? you are! yes you are!
posted by Lexica at 8:36 PM on June 27, 2011

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