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Run or walk with the dogs at Idaho Falls Mutt Strut Saturday

Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS — For the first time in a long while, Pete will be taking his place at the starting line of a dog race.

The brindle greyhound is among dozens of dogs running in Idaho Falls’ annual Mutt Strut at Snake River Landing on Saturday morning. The fundraising event isn’t so much a competitive dog race as it is a chance for local dog owners to show off the canine members of their families.

But for Pete the event will be a blast from the past. The greyhound raced successfully in Florida for a year and a half, competing in and winning 550-yard races in 30 seconds – or less. But the successes didn’t last.

“I don’t know why, but in his last race he pulled up fairly quickly. He finished the race, but he was way behind,” said his owner, Richard Magnuson of Idaho Falls.

That poor performance signaled the end of his racing career, and so at three years old, Pete was given up for adoption.

Magnuson and his wife, Geri, found Pete through the Arizona chapter of Greyhound Pets of America, a non-profit organization that finds responsible and loving homes for hounds no longer useful at the various racetracks around the country.

It’s not the first time the couple has rescued a greyhound. Magnuson’s first adopted greyhound, Ace, currently serves as the mascot for the Snake River Animal Shelter, which opened its doors August 10. Ace’s rescue and adoption into a loving home made him an appropriate mascot for the shelter. Ace’s Mutt Strut appearance on Saturday marks his final duty as the official 2015 shelter mascot.

The Magnusons have entered Pete in this year’s shelter mascot contest, so he might follow his buddy Ace as the shelter’s new mascot.

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The annual Mutt Strut is one of several annual events used to raise money for the shelter. And while the building is now complete and accepting pets for adoption, the shelter is just beginning the work of finding homes for pets.

“Now that we’ve got the building open, let’s keep the lights on,” said Marilyn Paarmann, who serves on the shelter’s board of directors. “Sometimes they come in neglected and abused, so we get them prettied up, socialized and ready for a new home.”

Those efforts take time, food, often some retraining and even veterinary care. As a result, donations are still needed to cover expenses for the animals’ care while at the shelter.

Regardless of whether Ace and Pete place in the competition, they will continue to appear around town. The two hounds are also trained therapy dogs, and visit the elderly at the Good Samaritan Society and other homes in Idaho Falls.

There are also the weekly walks through the Farmer’s Market, where the Magnusons take both dogs to practice and polish their people manners.

“It takes us about two hours to walk through the Farmer’s Market,” Magnuson said.

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