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May 11, 2014

UPDATE WITH VIDEO: Dog days 5K in Jeffersonville

Southern Indiana Animal Rescue hosts Fido-themed run/walk

JEFFERSONVILLE — Mambo the dog has only has three legs after one had to be amputated due to a severe break.

That didn’t stop Mambo and his master, Steve Hanners, from finishing fourth in Saturday’s Southern Indiana Animal Rescue Fido 5K at the Overlook in downtown Jeffersonville.

“I really wanted to try the race just to see if he could do it,” Hanners said. “He ran the whole 5K.”

On Saturday, more than 130 dog owners and their furry friends gathered for the event. In addition to Southern Indiana Animal Rescue several other animal advocacy groups were in attendance, such as the Koko project and Dogs Helping Heroes.

Amber Graves, secretary of Southern Indiana Rescue, said the Koko project has helped save the lives of many dogs.

“The Koko project is a second rescue that we started off of Southern Indiana rescue that helps with vet bills,” she said. “We have taken in the dogs who have the worst of the worst like neglect or abuse.”

Ozzy, a happy-go-lucky great dane and boxer mix, had been suffering from mange when admitted to SIAR. His treatment for the disease was completely paid for with the help from the Koko project, Graves said.

“Ozzy had mange very badly,” she said. “His vet bills were over $1,000, and the race that we had last year, our first race, paid for all of his bills. Without that fundraiser we wouldn’t have been able to take him in and save his life.”

David Benson and Amelia Goffinet brought their chocolate lab Ellie to watch the race and support the work of SIAR. They were also there to promote their new organization, Dogs Helping Heroes, which rescues dogs and trains them as service dogs to help veterans and first responders.

“One of the biggest things were working on is mobility and stability for the hero,” Benson said. “Another big factor in our training is emotional stability.

“We have a command ‘at ease’ that Ellie has learned, when she hears that she knows to paw at the wounded hero which will hopefully break them out of an emotional state.”

Benson said that additionally, the dogs are being trained to pick on distress signals or physical queues from the wounded heroes.

“One of the heroes sort of rubs her fingers and thumbs together when she is heading towards an emotional state,” he said. “Ellie has learned to help her when she first starts doing that.”

At the end of the race was a swimming pool for the dogs to drink and splash around in. When the bowl was emptied the local fire department filled it up using a fire hydrant.

Saturday’s race saw many first-time participants. They included Brad Dunlevy and his dog, Monet, a border collie mix, who came from Cincinnati. Dunlevy said that he just happened to stumble across the race online. Dunlevy and Monet were the first to finish the 5K.

“I looked up Saturday races online and this happened to one I found first,” Dunlevy said. “I really wanted to try it, I had never raced with a dog before, but it was really neat and I would definitely do it again.”

On the web:

To learn more about the race or Southern Indiana Animal Rescue visit


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Amy Harpenau is the new director of theater arts at New Albany High School. Harpenau is a 2007 graduate of Floyd Central High School, has appeared on stage at both high schools and worked in theaters since she graduated college.


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