The original Lakewood Love Run in 1983 was put on by the East Dallas Rotary Club to benefit the Juliette Fowler Homes. After two years, the Rotary decided a road race was too much work and decided to put their good efforts elsewhere.

In 1985, I became race director and selected the Dallas SPCA (now SPCA of Texas) as beneficiary and opened the run up to include “pets and their parents.” About 250 dogs and 850 humans raised $6,900 for the homeless animals that year.

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But our success was short-lived when the economy hit bottom, and I couldn’t find underwriters for the next four years.

But when the Lakewood Love Run returned in 1989, it was bigger and better with 1,200 participants and 500 dogs netting $8,200.

In 1990, we added a celebrity “Doggie Dash” for local media and sports personalities and their dogs, a Precocious Pet Tricks Contest, pet exhibits and a raffle. We also added 240 more dogs for a total of 740 netting $13,000.

Mayor Annette Strauss read a special pet proclamation kicking off “Be Kind to Animals” week at the 1991 run. Each year, Rev. Casey Miner does a non-denominational “blessing of the animals.”

More than 2,100 human and 1,100 dogs helped us raise $23,000 in 1992. Last year, commemorating the SPCA’s 55th Anniversary, we had more than 2,000 dogs making us the largest dog run in the country.

May 14, 1994, will be the last “Lakewood Love Run.” We have outgrown the neighborhood. First Interstate Bank-Lakewood, the run’s most loyal sponsor, will allow us to use its bank lot one more time. This will also be my last year as race director. I trust the good people at the SPCA can take the Love Run up to the next level.

If you haven’t seen more than 2,000 dogs of every size, shape and breed together, I urge you to come out this year. An entry form is in this issue of the Advocate (also a Love Run sponsor).

If you have supported this event, thank you for helping the homeless animals. All of your entry fees go directly to the SPCA of Texas for food, emergency medical care and foster homes for abused animals.

Since the run is later this year, take extra caution with your pet if it is a warm day. There will be plenty of water stations on the course and vets on site. Since there are no race results, there’s no reason to race. Go slow, enjoy the quality time with your pet, and have fun.

Happy Tails, and see you May 14.