Turkey Trot provides unique Thanksgiving Day experience

Judy Garrigues hangs on to Rico as the llama learns to deal with the dogs at the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning in Parque de Vida. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Judy Garrigues hangs on to Rico as the llama learns to deal with the dogs at the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning in Parque de Vida.

Hoping to burn a few calories, tire out some pets and contribute to a good cause, a large group of locals arrived at Parque de Vida on Nov. 28 to participate in the 10th annual Turkey Trot.

Started 10 years ago by Cortez resident Ric Plese as a way to raise money for local humane societies, the 1-mile Trot around the park has grown to include more than 50 runners.

Now run by For Pets’ Sake Humane Society, funds raised through the Turkey Trot are used to support pets and pet owners in the local area.

“A lot of what we do is fundraising for neuters, spays and vet bills,” explained race organizer and For Pets’ sake board member, Sally Jo Leitner. “We buy pet food for people and dog houses.”

Far more than a fundraiser, however, the Trot provided local pet owners with an opportunity to exercise and dress up their pets in a fun community environment.

Among the unique animals present at the trot was a llama, which, brought by Judy Garrigues, stood at attention as dogs and runners passed.

“It’s great to see people come out and do silly things,” said race leader Jack Schuenemeyer. “There’s not enough of that going on in the world today. It’s absolutely great fun.”

“We used to take llamas in parades and pack them,” added Garrigues. “We want our llamas to be real friendly with people whether they are in a parade situation or packing.”

A special event in more ways than one, the Turkey Trot promises to continue to be a staple Thanksgiving Day event in the Cortez community for years to come.

Laura Anderson adjusts the antlers on her dog, Mandy, before the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning in Parque de Vida. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Laura Anderson adjusts the antlers on her dog, Mandy, before the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning in Parque de Vida.

Jack Schuenemeyer prepares to lead off the Turkey Trot with his dog, Cory, Thanksgiving morning in Parque de Vida. See story and more photos on 9A. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Jack Schuenemeyer prepares to lead off the Turkey Trot with his dog, Cory, Thanksgiving morning in Parque de Vida. See story and more photos on 9A.