RCMP Service Dog Jago was tragically killed on June 17 during a high risk incident involving an armed suspect in High Prairie, AB, but he will be remembered this weekend during Jago’s Run.
Ned’s Wish is partnering with Paws Here and Aim K9 to create the one of a kind run-with-your-dog race experience just outside Prince Albert, with the proceeds going towards veterinary costs for retired police dogs, like Jago’s brother—and Ned’s Wish Hero—Argo.
Amy Wilkinson of Paws Here said she came up with the idea after noticing there were not really any runs you could do with your dog.
“It has been a couple years that I have wanted to do one local to Prince Albert that is dog friendly,” Wilkinson explained. “I mean, obviously having a dog daycare and dog training business that is kind of my crowd of people.
“It’s going to be a fun family event either with or without your dog,” she added. “We don’t want people to feel like they have to have a dog in order to take part. Their donation to the run goes directly to Ned’s Wish there is not a lot of overhead or anything involved in that. We are just trying to raise as much money as we can for Ned’s Wish to help out the dogs to get that retirement.”
After the planning started, Wilkinson began looking for an organization to fundraise for. It was not long after the incident that claimed Jago’s life when she discovered Ned’s Wish.
“I thought, ‘you know what? It would be really nice to honour Jago,’ and then kind of in that same way I looked into Ned’s Wish a little bit more. I had heard about them a little while ago and I thought this kind of all pieces together really well,” Wilkinson explained.
“I got in touch with Ned’s Wish, the organizers and the board there were really excited about this, and we started planning what we could, with all that has transpired this summer,”
Jago’s Run is scheduled for Sept. 19 in Lily Plain, located 25 kilometres west of Prince Albert and will use the Lily Plain Hall. The run will be in the Nisbet Forest which is located near the hall. The Hall will be the base of operations with the prizes and booths.
Wilkinson said they’ll have staggared starts because of COVID-19 safety protocols, and not wanting everyone on the course at the same time. Instead, competitors will leave in 15 minute intervals.
“People can go to the hall and collect their race package, look at the prizes and stuff, go out do the run and then if they want to come back to the hall they can,” she said. “If they don’t, if they kind of just want to keep away from a bit of a crowd, then that is understandable too.”
“It’s outdoors. It’s a trail run. It’s not on concrete. It’s in the sand in the forest, (where it’s) absolutely beautiful. It’s nice, easy running or walking. You don’t even have to run the six kilometres, lots of people are kind of looking at it like a hike, which is fine too, with their dog,” she explained.
Runners and their dogs will complete a six km course during the event. Wilkinson admitted that’s an odd distance for a run, but the number holds special significance. That’s the length of the search Jago undertook before a suspect shot and killed him.
“It’s a very odd number (and) it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but that’s why we went with it,” she explained. “It’s to honour his last track through the forest.”
Cpl. Jamie Chartrand a K9 handler for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, explained why an organization like Ned’s Wish is so important after he recently retired his second dog Jaks. Jaks worked for eight years and is now enjoying his retirement as an 11-year-old.
“As these dogs get into their senior years they commonly develop arthritis or sometimes hip and back problems, to name a few, due to the years of wear and tear of being a working dog. Other than a little arthritis he is in good health,” Chartrand said.
“The medical costs can sometimes be a lot on the handler or the home that has adopted them because these dogs are no longer the responsibility of the agency they once worked for. That’s where Ned’s Wish can help. We owe these dogs a comfortable retirement for all the work they have done.”
To register people can either visit nedswish.com or pawshere.ca as both sites have a registration link.
“There is a virtual option as well, we have a ton of people signed up from across Canada that aren’t coming for the in person one,” Wilkinson said.