Zoo invites families to get fit before they feast

Oregon Zoo, Oregon Road Runners Club host annual Turkey Trot, Nov. 27 

A costumed turkey mascot limbers up outside the Oregon Zoo in preparation for the traditional Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. The run-walk takes place Nov. 27 beginning at 8 a.m. at the zoo. Photo by Julie Cudahy, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

A costumed turkey mascot limbers up outside the Oregon Zoo in preparation for the traditional Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. The run-walk takes place Nov. 27 beginning at 8 a.m. at the zoo. Photo by Julie Cudahy, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Zoo invites runners and walkers of all ages to its annual Turkey Trot on Thursday, Nov. 27. The Thanksgiving Day event, organized by the Oregon Road Runners Club, includes a four-mile run and fitness walk, starting at 8 a.m., and a half-mile Tot Trot, beginning at 9:30 a.m. A portion of Turkey Trot proceeds will fund animal care and programs at the zoo. 

“Turkey Trot is a fun and healthy way to gather together and start your Thanksgiving,” said Teri Dresler, interim zoo director. “The runners really get into the spirit of it, and a lot of people show up in costumes. Every year, we see folks dressed as turkeys, pilgrims — even Elvis.” 

Events are non-competitive and meant for fun, but a timing clock will be available at the finish line for participants who wish to time themselves. The ORRC will provide nutritious snacks at the end of the courses, as well as a chocolate turkey for each person who crosses the finish line. Pumpkin pies will be given to 150 randomly selected finishers. 

Each event starts at the World Forestry Center and finishes inside the zoo by the concert amphitheater. For information and registration forms, visit www.orrc.net/races/turkey_trot/turkey_tba.htm

Pets and roller skates are not allowed in any of the events. Participants with strollers or child-carrier backpacks are allowed only in the four-mile fitness walk and must start at the back of the group (the third wave starts at 8:30 a.m.).  

Parking is limited, and runners who haven’t visited the area since last year should be aware that a Pay to Park system is now in use throughout Washington Park. Pay-to-park hours begin at 9:30 a.m. and the first half hour is free. (You still need to put your parking space number into the pay station to get this free 30 minutes.) For more information, visit washingtonparkpdx.org/parking

Participants are encouraged to ride MAX. TriMet’s Washington Park light-rail station is just steps away from the registration area and starting lines. Buses and MAX trains will be operating on a Sunday schedule because of the holiday. Timetables are available at www.trimet.org

To see a video of a previous year’s Turkey Trot featuring Elvis and other costumed participants, go to bit.ly/OregonZooTurkeyTrot

The ORRC, a nonprofit organization, was founded in Seaside, Ore., in 1970 as an outgrowth of the Trail’s End Marathon, the first marathon held in the Pacific Northwest. The club is a member of the national Road Runners Club of America, and is one of the largest RRCA running clubs in the United States with roughly a thousand members. The club conducts races and developmental programs for children, adults, runners and walkers, and plans and organizes more than 15 running and walking events in the Portland vicinity. For more information, visit www.orrc.net. 

The zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects include studies on Asian elephants, polar bears, orangutans and giant pandas. The zoo relies in part on donations through the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. 

The zoo opens at 9 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. General zoo admission is $11.50 (ages 12-64), $10 for seniors (65 and up), $8.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger. Additional information is available at www.oregonzoo.org or by calling 503-226-1561.

The zoo opens at 9 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. General zoo admission is $11.50 (ages 12-64), $10 for seniors (65 and up), $8.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger. Additional information is available atwww.oregonzoo.org or by calling 503-226-1561.

DogFest Walk ‘N Roll coming in September

The University of Portland campus welcomes a tail waggin’ good time at the Portland DogFest Walk N’ Roll Sept. 13.  This family- and dog-friendly event will be completely accessible, and benefits Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a nonprofit dedicated to providing assistance dogs free of charge to those in need.  CCI has provided dogs for adults and children with disabilities such as spinal cord injuries, amputations, and deafness.  To learn more, contact CCI.org/DogFest/Portland.


Parker Pup walks for cancer awareness

Parker Pup, the tireless advocate for canine cancer awareness, will participate in the Morris Animal Foundation’s Unite to Fight Virtual Pet Cancer Walk June 22.  Parker will don his cancer vest and walk alongside his “little brother” Reser in Portland, and encourages friends locally and across the country to do the same.  

The annual fundraising campaign asks participants to pledge to take their dog(s) for a walk on June 22 as a way to honor dogs and cats who have endured cancer, and join the effort to support cancer research through the Morris Animal Foundation. While this isn’t an organized walk with a designated location, Parker encourages his many Facebook followers to join him in spirit, and Portlanders are invited to walk with Parker by sending him a private message on his Facebook page.  Learn more at MorrisAnimalFoundation.org or ParkerPup.com.

The struttin’ returns this September!

The first Strut Your Mutt event in Portland was a huge success last year, and organizers are gearing up for an even bigger turnout this fall when peeps and their furry companions converge at Sellwood’s Riverfront Park Sept. 28.  The event features a leisurely walk, followed by a fun-filled festival with pet contests, activities and the chance to schmooze with fellow pet lovers and pros.  Sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society, the event is part of a national fundraiser comprised of like events held across the country — all aimed at raising $1.5 million for homeless pets.

Local rescue organizations such as Family Dogs New Life, Born Again Pit Bull Rescue, My Way Home Dog Rescue and the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society are already getting their packs together in hopes of topping last year’s collective take of nearly $30,000 for local rescues and shelters.  To learn more about volunteering or organizing a pack of your own, visit StrutYourMutt.org.

Strut Your Mutt dog walk & festival supports local rescue


On Saturday, Sept. 29, Portland dogs and their owners can help support shelter pets by participating in Best Friends Animal Society's Strut Your Mutt.  The event supports nine Portland animal rescue groups and shelters, and features a 1-mile walk followed by a doggie-themed festival.  Festival activities include doggie yoga and massage, fitness activities, Nose Work demos, pet boutiques, training consults, free pet portraits, contests and treats...for pets and people.  Participants can fundraise in advance by registering online, and money raised will help fund the critical adoption and spay/neuter efforts of Born Again Pit Bull RescueClackamas County Dog ServicesFamily Dogs New Life ShelterFences for FidoGoodFellas RescueLuv-a-Bull Dog RescueMultnomah County Animal ServicesMy Way Home Dog Rescue, and West Columbia Gorge Humane Society.  Strut Your Mutt will be held at Laurelhurst Park at 37th and Oak in Portland.  The walk starts at 9am, and festivities run 'til 1pm.  To register, $30/advance, or for information, StrutYourMutt.org.

National fundraiser hits home


Best Friends Sanctuary of Utah’s 7th annual Strut Your Mutt fundraiser has expanded to six cities, including Portland.  The national event, themed “No More Homeless Pets,” raised $700,000 in 2011 for adoption and spay/neuter, and aims to hit the million-dollar mark this year.  The local event, co-chaired by Karli Covington of the Pixie Project and Julie Honse of Born Again Pit Bull Rescue, happens Sept. 29 at Laurelhurst Park, and aims to raise $25,000 for local rescues including My Way HomeFamily Dogs New Life and Multnomah County Animal Services.

A leisurely walk begins at 9am, followed by a festival with pet-themed activities and all the dog-loving camaraderie found at these events.  For more information or to donate to one of the participating organizations, go to StrutYourMutt.org.

A little fun, walk and run . . . for the kitties


Revel in a balmy July eve and run, walk, or jog to help homeless cats at the CATnip 5k & Mouse Miler benefiting Cat Adoption Team.  The event steps off Saturday, July 28 at 6pm; on-site registration opens at 4.  The run moves through Tualatin Community and Durham Parks and along the treed streets of Durham.  Walkers will enjoy the unpaved tree-lined path along the Tualatin River.

For serious runners, the CATnip is one of the only USATF-certified 5ks that also offers a fast timed mile race.  The CATnip boasts 5k finishes of just over 15 minutes.

This year’s event has a new location, route and date, but retains its purr-fect features:  CATnip Cookie Awards for fastest finishers, great goodie bags, balloon art, raffle items and vendors.  Well-mannered/leashed dogs are welcome.  All proceeds help homeless cats at CAT, fund low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, and stock the CAT food bank.


To register, see sponsors, or obtain pledge forms, visit catnip5k.org.  Registration for the 5k and Miler is $20 (kids $150); CATnip tees $15.  Like the CATnip 5k on Facebook for the latest details. 

Photos courtesy of CAT Adoption Team

Bend Ruff Run benefits off-leash parks


Participating people and dogs will take off in the 2nd annual Ruff Run Aug. 18 at 7am at Riverbend Park in Bend, OR.  Proceeds from 5K run/walk benefit DogPac, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding off leash recreation for dogs in the Bend area.  Since its inception, DogPac’s successes include increasing from one to seven the number of Bend-area off-leash dog parks, and creating and maintaining Oregon’s only groomed cross-country ski trail that allows dogs.  Learn more at DogPac.org.

Coast to Coast Bully Walk


A national effort to raise awareness of Pit bulls — the breed, the challenges, and current issues — is underway, and as part of it Portland Pit Bull Project co-founder Cheryl Huerta and Boston, MA resident Jennifer Thompson have formed a group on Facebook called the Coast to Coast Bully Walk to enlist participants in a Pit Bull walk this fall.  Other walks are forming across the country, all set for Oct. 27, which is National Pit Bull Awareness Day.  While most are still in the planning stages, early reports indicate that many are in the works, including by groups in California, Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and Massachusetts.  Learn more about the Portland Pit Bull Project, and the local Coast to Coast Bully Walk at ThePDXPitbullProject.com or at the group’s page on Facebook.