Doggie Dash promotes charity, scholarship

Austin Lewis

The autumn breeze rushed through campus as dogs and proud owners lined the university barely after 8 a.m. Despite the early Saturday morning and chilly weather, the humans and canines were alert and excited. Smiles flashed for pictures while the tails of the four-legged counterparts wagged in anticipation.

Sets of two and four legs made their way to a white archway where they were greeted by Glenna Bower.

“On your mark, get set, GO!”

The words rang over the parking lot, starting the first annual Doggie Dash. All of the participants were off on a 3.2-mile run that wound through the beautiful USI campus.

The Pott College hosted the first annual Doggie Dash in support of the Pott College and Evansville’s It Takes a Village canine rescue center.

Participants could register themselves and their dog to participate in a 3K or 5K, for a $30 fee. Boxes were set up at registration collecting donations of toys and supplies for animals at the rescue center.     

Bower, the Associate Dean of the Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education and the Chair of the Kinesiology and Sports Department, said she is in charge of overseeing the Pott College student advisory board, which is responsible for putting the Doggie Dash together.  The event was held to raise money for student scholarships and professional development.

“We have been planning this event since May. Some students even worked on it during their summer break,” Bower said. “Overall, they put in a lot of good work.”

Half of the funds raised were donated to It Takes a Village (ITV), a non-profit, mostly volunteer,  no-kill, privately run rescue in Evansville. Susan Odoyo, one of the original founding members of ITV and a chair holder on the board of directors said they were more than happy with the turnout for this event. The organization itself brought about 12 dogs to participate in the event.

“Some of the student volunteers are out there walking and running the dogs out there, and we couldn’t be happier to get them out on this beautiful day,” Odoyo said smiling widely.

Odoyo said they will be at the fall festival this year and encourage anyone to follow ITV on social media as well as check out their website,

Out of nowhere, cheering rang across the campus as some 150 participants came trickling in across the finish line. Participants tilted their heads back allowing water to flow down their throats to cure their thirst while dogs buried their snouts into bowls and buckets to quench theirs.

Jenna Beck, a social work student working on her master’s, and her 6-month old shih tzu/poodle mix Baymax rested off to the side after finishing the event. Beck said this was the first run that she had done with her dog.

Baymax seemed very content and proud after completing the full length of the 5k.

“You’ve got to get out and do it. Enjoy the college experience,” Beck said. “You can’t just stay in your room. Meet different people, network and have fun!”