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Tales to tell about tails

It was a dog’s world Sunday, filled with free-flowing biscuits at the finish and tails in the wind.

The seventh annual Tahoe Trails and Tails brought out 120 participants to raise money for the Yerington Animal Protection Society and to run the rolling lands surrounding Spooner Lake.

Some ran the 5- and 10-kilometer routes competitively. Others enjoyed the scenery and the camaraderie of running with the pooches.



Doug Smith of Stateline, who placed first in the men’s overall 10K, made the event a family affair. He took Sadie, a 2-year-old black Labrador mix, down the path of victory with a time of 44 minutes. His wife, Valerie, walked the 5K for fun with their two daughters.

“This is a great family event,” Smith said, standing next to an exuberant Sadie. She wagged her tail as she wore a medal attached to a red, white and blue woven collar.




“We even stopped at the 4-mile mark for drinks,” he said.

Doug Smith frequently takes his dog on the Tahoe Rim Trail, where she has grown accustomed to drinking from a water bottle. She snubs bowls of water.

The couple also ran the Olympic torch together when it made its way through Tahoe last January.

Another South Shore torchbearer, Jan Ashcraft, brought her trail companion — Tigger — out to the Spooner Lake State Park. The two walked away from the 5K with a medal for placing first in the 60-plus category.

Don Hicks of Rancho Cordova used the event as an excuse to run the trails of Tahoe. He took the distinction of the best male 5K time with Maggie and Jake, a 2-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever and an 11-year-old German shorthaired, respectively.

Even with the gray chin showing, Jake likes the front of the pack, Hicks said.

“He doesn’t like anybody in front,” he said of the dog that’s still able to pull a 5-minute mile. (In dog years, Jake would be 77 years old.)

The competition aside, it soon became apparent that many dogs and their handlers came to socialize.

After the runs, several people approached David and Nancy Wittman during the awards ceremony to coddle Woody, a Pomeranian known to guard and greet customers at the Sun Basin Nursery.

Woody came out for the event with his stepsister, Weiner — a dachshund.

The need to connect even delayed Kathryn Bricker’s start with her Rottweiler, Rocky.

“It took 25 minutes to get out of the starting block because he had to smell where every other dog had been,” said Bricker of Zephyr Cove.

Then the 14-month-old canine spit out a homemade biscuit provided along the 5K run.

“He acted like a little boy eating a turnip,” Bricker said.

Rocky enjoys the delights of family cooking at home, Bricker explained. Her husband, Frank D’Angelo, feeds him people food on occasion.

Despite the few distractions on his first run, Bricker plans to bring the burly dog back.

“There aren’t that many events for animals,” she said.

Bricker said she was surprised there weren’t more confrontations between the dogs.

“In the seven years we’ve put this on, we’ve never had an altercation,” said Trails and Tails Race Director Stacy Baker, a Kingsbury Grade veterinarian.


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