Nearly a year ago — in your time, it would be seven years in my time — I was wandering around my yard when I noticed people running by.
I didn't know where they were going, but I figured it must be someplace very interesting because there were hundreds of them all headed in the same direction.
Curiosity got the better of me.
Maybe wherever they were going, they could use a dog. I've seen Lassie reruns on TV and, even though I'm a goldendoodle, I know if called upon, I could be a hero, so I left my yard to join them.
My mom knows I never leave my yard, but this excitement was too much to resist.
It was helpful that my invisible fence was temporarily not working. Those shocks to my neck do get my attention.
Out into the street I went, trotting along side the runners. I'm always up for a little exercise and they were keeping an easy pace.
"Nice dog," someone said, giving me a little pat on the head. I love to be patted, and if you scratch me under my neck and chin, I'm your friend for life.
We ran down my street and then another and another. Pretty soon, I wasn't quite sure where I was, but I kept up with the runners because I didn't want to be left behind, like I was when all my littermates were chosen except for me.
Sometimes I got a drink of water at the water stops, other times I wandered a little off the course to trot through a puddle. That helped cool my paws down. I'd gone for walks before with my mom, Rosana Dorsett, but never runs like this.
Along the way, some people took my picture. I guess they weren't used to seeing a handsome dog like me.
Eventually, I joined the other runners as we crossed the finish line, which was in Maple Lawn. Those of you who know Fulton know where that is.
There were a lot of festivities going on at the finish line and the runners stopped running there. Since I didn't know anyone I just wandered around. Everyone thought I was with someone else — especially, since dogs aren't technically supposed to run road races.
While I was doing the race, my mom came home. That's when she discovered that I was missing. She was frantic.
Mom couldn't call the animal shelter because it was closed for the weekend, but she did send out an email to our neighbors. One of them told her they thought they'd seen me at the finish line of the Maryland Half Marathon. That was the name of the race and it is a benefit for the University of Maryland's Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.
Mom called the Half Marathon folks, who told her they had video of a goldendoodle crossing the finish line, but they didn't know what happened to the dog.
The day after the race, I managed to find my way home, but I was stuck outside the invisible fence, which was now working.
Mom was really happy to see me. She took one look at me — I was limping and my feet were all muddy — and she took me to the vet for a checkup. They gave me some fluids and sent me home to rest. I was so dog-gone tired, I slept the whole day.
While I was sleeping Mom started piecing snippets of the story together and she realized that I must have run the race.
"That was the only time he's ever run away. All those runners inspired him to go," she told a reporter.
While Mom was getting the story, the Half Marathon folks did some thinking of their own and they thought of a way to give the race a little more publicity.
They decided that since I ran most of the race — I did about 8 miles — and since I crossed the finish line, I deserved a finisher's medal. They made special arrangements to give it to me.
They also decided they would start a fundraising webpage in my name. The original goal was pretty high — $10,000. But as people heard my story and started sending money in, the goal was pushed higher and higher. Eventually, I raised $25,000 for cancer research.
All of a sudden, people were calling for interviews. In the last year, I've been on TV shows, on YouTube videos, in the newspaper, received a proclamation from a county executive and in magazines — Runner's World, most recently.
Oh, and I've got a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/dozerthedogfanpage).
Not meaning to, I suddenly became famous.
Mom says I'm fun, a people pleaser and very social. And it's true. I enjoy all the attention I have received, especially because it is for a very good cause — cancer research.
Unfortunately, they won't let me run in this year's fourth annual Maryland Half Marathon, which starts at 8 a.m., May 6, in Maple Lawn — it's that dogs-can't-run-in-races thing. But I am included in the race in several very important ways.
First, they have added Dozer's Dash, an 8-mile race-within-a-race. Only the half marathoners can participate. Runners will get a split time at the start of my race, which is five miles into the half marathon. It's where I joined the fun last year. The male and female runners with the lowest time for the Dozer's Dash leg of the Maryland Half Marathon will be named Top Dog.
I've got another fundraising page at http://www.ummsfoundation.org/dozer. Anyone who donates at least $50 to my page will receive a plush stuffed Dozer toy that looks a lot like me. It is really cute. Mom has one but she won't let me play with it.
A picture of me with a pawtograph comes with the Dozer toy.
If you don't want to donate to my page, you can donate to some other runner's page. It's all for a good cause.
There's still time to sign up for the race, but you have to do it in person on race day. Details are at http://www.mdhalfmarathon.com.
Mom has told me that I'll be at the start of the race, the start of the Dozer's Dash leg and also at a tent near the finish line for a meet and greet. She's even going to get me groomed for the race. They are calling the tent Dozer's dog house. What a hoot!