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October 9, 2013

Dog that crashed half-marathon gets medal

Boogie Butts the chocolate Labrador beat 1,128 racers.

EVANSVILLE — Boogie Butts navigated most of the 13.1 miles of the Evansville Half Marathon on Saturday, but rather than having a medal bestowed upon him as the other 2,000 runners and walkers did, Boogie was locked up.

But Monday, Boogie was recognized for his trek.

A 100-pound chocolate Labrador, Boogie gained local notoriety Saturday after running 13 of the 13.1 mile half-marathon while on the lam from his owners.

Boogie’s human, Jerry Butts, told the Evansville Courier & Press the canine wiggled free of his leash sometime Friday night, his fourth such escape attempt.

He was first spotted shortly after the start of the race at the Thornton’s gas station at St. Joseph and Franklin. He finished the course in 2 hours 15 minutes — beating the times of 1,128 of the race’s registered participants.

Kim Arney, Boogie’s race partner for the final three miles of the half-marathon, presented Boogie with his participant medal outside the YMCA Downtown Monday afternoon.

“I lost my race buddy about mile 4 or 5 and picked up a new one around mile 10,” Arney said.

The Evansville Police Department sent out a news release looking for the dog’s owners after the race, and local media outlets shared the story, which went viral on the Internet.

Butts hadn’t heard of the notoriety until he went to Animal Control looking for Boogie.

“I could hear him barking soon as I got out the car. ... Right then (a woman at Animal Control) said, ‘Your dog is an Internet celebrity, and you’re going to have to have proof it’s yours,’” Butts said, while holding tightly to Boogie’s leash.

Butts described Boogie as a 100 pound lab dog that, despite being 8 years old, is all puppy.

Marking the fourth escape for Boogie, Butts said the pup will likely be neutered.

“He’s going to lose part of his manhood here. That was part of the deal, and now he’s got an identification chip, too,” Butts said.

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