By Katie Dahlstrom
CLINTON - At 9-months old, Indigo Winters is already a star.
His response to stardom: “Woof.”
The standard poodle and his human running mate Hobs Winters, were the first to cross the finish line at the Clinton Humane Society’s 2-mile run/walk, making Indigo the organization’s spokesdog for the next year.
They were among a mob of wagging tails, prancing paws and smiling faces to traverse state lines during the event, which benefited the Clinton Humane Society.
A sea of more than 200 people and dogs crossed the Iowa 136 bridge Saturday morning during the Mutts on the Mississippi run/walk.
Indigo’s human mom, Karen, had a little bit more to say about him being on all the flyers and promotional materials for the Clinton Humane Society until a new spokesdog is crowned at the 2014 event.
“I’m excited about it. He’ll be a great spokesdog because he’s a really happy dog,” she said. “He’s friendly, people can approach him. He’ll be a really good spokesdog.”
The first-of-its-kind event shut down the Iowa 136 bridge across the Mississippi River, giving dogs and their people a unique experience walking from Fulton, Ill., to Clinton in the center of the bridge. People came from as far as Arizona, Utah and Wisconsin to take part in the event, Clinton Humane Society Executive Director Sandi Bartels said.
Crossing the river by walking rather then driving over the bridge pulled Kathy McDanel and her husband, Jeff, of Clinton, into participating with their dogs, Shyla and Sassy. It also will keep them coming back.
“We’re definitely dog lovers and we wanted to help out the Humane Society. Of course, our dogs love to go for walks,” McDanel said. “I thought it would be neat to go across the bridge and that was really neat.”
For Bartels, the day will be remembered as a tremendous success.
“It was amazing to see everybody coming over the bridge,” she said. “Everybody we talked to said the scenery was just unbelievable coming across the bridge, looking at the river. We had a beautiful day. I don’t think we could have asked for anything more.”
After the bi-state trek, the dogs and their companions celebrated in Lyons Four Square Park, where a number of vendors were set up to serve both two- and four-legged participants. The park buzzed as dogs jumped into pools, traversed an agility course and milled about.
Mutts on the Mississippi even compelled non-dog owners to bum some canines for the event.
Clinton residents Chelsea West and Bevan Paarmann made the journey with a Dachshund named Binny Boo and a Yellow Labrador Pitbull mix, Ojibwa.
“We wanted to help the Clinton Humane Society and it looked like a fun event. We both have cats and we couldn’t take the cats for a walk, so we borrowed our neighbor’s dogs,” Paarmann said. “The dogs loved it. They live in town and have a big backyard, but they don’t get to cross the bridge like that. They loved it.”