Meet Gordon, a 2-year-old Miniature Doberman who is partially paralyzed, but will be covering miles in Sunday’s Chicago Marathon.
Dogs aren’t allowed on the course, but race organizers have made an exception since his owner, Janet Turner, 55, will be carrying him in a backpack as she takes on her fifth marathon.
This isn’t some publicity stunt. It’s a heartwarming effort to raise money for Marley’s Mutts, which rescues, trains and re-homes “death row dogs” in California.
According to Runner’s World, Gordon found his forever home with Turner in March thanks to the non-profit. Gordon had a terrible start in life. He was shot with a .22 as a pup, and because the bullet sat in his spine, he could not walk on his hind legs, so they had to be amputated.
Marley’s Mutts took him in, and gave prisoners in California the chance to rehabilitate him. Soon after they started working with Gordon, they nicknamed him “G-Dog.”
Turner, who is a physical therapy assistant from West Virginia, had just lost her 7-year-old dog, Moose, when she came upon a Facebook post on Marley’s Mutts with news that Gordon was ready to be adopted.
“I felt I had a lot to offer a physically challenged dog,” she told Runner’s World. “The doctor said he didn’t know if a dog like this could be adopted. They said he’d need constant bandages, diaper changes, and they listed his life prognosis as poor.”
Turner was up for the work, and the challenge. And, on Sunday, she’ll toe the start line with her new best friend. She’s ready to go the full distance, but if she finds that Gordon isn’t up for it, she’ll pass him off to a friend at the half-way point.
According to Turner’s Crowdrise page, she has raised more than $5,700 for Marley’s Mutts. This will be her first marathon with a dog in tow. And, one that will positively impact other mutts like G-Dog.