2014 Dog Jog and Why It Matters to Me

Before the post begins (or after you read it), if you would like to donate to my 2014 CHA Fundraising, please click this link.


My first Citizens for Humane Action Dog Jog was in August 2008. It’s something I’ll never forget. The day before the race, my divorce became final, then, in a horrible twist of fate…. my grandfather passed away a few hours later. It was, without question, one of the worst days of my life.

I had signed up for the Dog Jog a few weeks prior because I wanted something to look forward to and thought this would be a good distraction.

When I arrived at the race, I found my good friend, Billy. It was great to have some support at the race. You can see from the picture how young and thin I was.


Tobey was so happy that day. And I felt great helping homeless animals. It was exactly what I needed. We ran 5k in 23 minutes and 34 seconds (7:30 average).


I’ve kept the Dog Jog on my  Calendar ever since. I even showed up with a severely sprained ankle one year. I didn’t run, but I was there. I’ve raised more than $3,400 since my first race.

I started bringing my Lillian and the woman who would become my wife. The event morphed into something I looked forward to every year. Something I could do to give back to the animals that can’t help themselves and something I could do with my best friend Tobey.

This year, Tobey is turning 9. It’s something that I’m having a hard time with. He’s started to slow down physically, which breaks my heart. It takes him longer to recover from runs, and he can’t go as fast as he could before. That’s why this year’s Dog Jog is so important to me.

There is a real chance this could be the last formal run we do together. We likely won’t beat our personal record (22:35 in 2009), but we will remain committed to the cause.

We’re going to show up and we’re going to have an amazing time helping other dogs. In the end, that’s what the CHA Dog Jog is all about.

I personally can’t wait.

If you’d like to contribute to my cause, you can do so here…. if you’d like to leave a note, please use the comment box below.

Amazon or Bust… Now With Charitable Giving!

I have a crazy Amazon addiction. Last year alone I had 138 orders that included everything from Tide to a Blender to Special K cereal. This year I’ve slightly scaled back. Through today, I have 89 orders. This year includes everything from a Halloween costume to a box of Candy Cigarettes to more Special K (Note: the price of cereal changes almost every day. The target price is around $14 for four boxes). I love love love Amazon.

It was great news when Amazon introduced a program called Amazon Smile. In a nutshell, the program gives 0.5 percent of your purchase to the charity of your choice when you start at smile.amazon.com. The beauty is that they have thousands of charities to choose and it’s incredibly easy to use. My two favorite charities, Citizens for Humane Action and the Louisville Weimaraner Rescue (LWR) were both on the list which means that any purchase I make (some restrictions apply), they’ll get a donation. I ended up going with the LWR because I haven’t been as active as I would like to be in the Weim community.


One thing to note with Amazon Smile is that if you don’t start at smile.amazon.com, your purchase won’t qualify. Thankfully, if you use Google Chrome as a web browser (which everyone should), someone has created an extension that automatically loads Amazon Smile anytime you navigate to Amazon. The link is:


Either way, it’s a win-win…. you get the great products you want and you’re helping charity at the same time. I encourage all four readers of this blog to make a difference and pick the charity of their choice and sign up. Every little bit helps and it certainly makes me feel better about 300+ orders over the past three years!


If you have any suggestions of products from Amazon or want to talk about great charities, leave a note in the comment box below.

2013 CHA Dog Jog

Tobey and I participated in the 23rd annual, 2013 CHA Dog Jog today at Genoa Park in downtown Columbus, OH. The weather was absolutely perfect and we finished the 5k in 23 minutes and 23 seconds. This put us on a 7:45 average mile. The big news is that Tobey finished third and received a gift basket full of treats at the finish! This is the 5th time we’ve run in this race (I was injured one year so I couldn’t participate). The first time was the day after my grandfather’s passing in 2008 so this race has always been special for me. This years time was our 3rd best (13 seconds behind last years time of 23:10).

The last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of fundraising for the event and have raised over $3200 in total. I wasn’t able to do that this year due to the wedding and honeymoon and whatnot, but it still felt great to help a great cause in Citizens for Humane Action (a local shelter in Columbus). We’re already looking forward to the 2014 race!




If you have any thoughts on the dog jog, feel free to drop a note in the comments

Paying it Forward…. Schmidt’s and Mark’s Epic Fail Edition

 Try to take that attitude toward life, that you’re going to pay forward.  So seldom can we pay back because those who helped most–your parents and other people–will be gone, but you’ll find that you do want to pay.  Emerson had something to say about that: “You can pay back only seldom.”  But he said, “You can always pay forward, and you must pay line for line, deed for deed, and cent for cent.”  He said, “Beware of too much good accumulating in your palm or it will fast corrupt.”  That was Emerson’s attitude, and no one put it better than he did. – Woody Hayes

I have absolutely wonderful friends. Each year, I participate in the Citizens for Humane Action (CHA) Dog Jog 5k race. As part of this, I conduct fundraising for the local 501C(3)non-profit animal shelter. The support was been overwhelming. In the four years I’ve been doing fundraising, we’ve raised over $3000 for the animals of Columbus and the surrounding area.

5 Years of Dog Jogs

CHA, for their part, has been equally great. They put on a fun event and they are overly gracious with their recognition. They have great vendors and in some years they’ll have side competitions for the pups. One year Tobey finished second in the trick competition by teaching children fire safety (stop, drop and roll). In the 2012 event, as a thank you for finishing as the second place fundraiser, I was presented with a gift basket. Included were dog treats and toys for the pups and a certificate for a Picnic Pack that feeds 10 from the famous Schmidt’s Haus restaurant in Columbus. It was a very nice gesture by CHA as a token of their appreciation.

The original plan was to have a night of Schmidt’s and Wine at a friends house (his place is amazing for gatherings and he is a skilled vintner). Unfortunately, as it tends to, life started getting in the way of our plans. School started for his girls and I found myself traveling to see my fiance’ nearly every weekend. Weeks and months started to pass and the certificate had a firm February 28th, 2013 expiration date. I thought the next best thing to the wine event would be a lunch as a thank you to the great friends of my life and an easy way to ‘pay it forward’ to all those who have been so generous and supportive.

I scheduled lunch for a Thursday several weeks in advance so people could clear their schedules and reserved a conference room in the building where the majority worked. The week of the lunch, I called Schmidt’s and ordered the ‘Picnic Pack’ to be picked up Thursday at 11:15am. When I arrived, they were still in the back working on everything. The pack included 4 pounds of brats, sides, buns, sauerkraut, etc. Everything I would need to host a great ‘thank you’ lunch. After waiting a few minutes, the host summoned me with four bags full of Schmidt’s. He even mentioned the meat was in a separate bag and included a ton of silverware and napkins. I was set.

You can imagine my horror when I got to the conference room and started setting everything up to find that the brats and bahama mama’s were still raw.  I’m still confused how could the restaurant would think I’m going to grill the meat in 25 degree temperatures in the dead of winter…. Before panic could set in, my friends started arriving en mass. In my mind, my lunch had gone from a nice gesture to an epic fail.

As I mentioned previously, I have some of the most amazing friends. Everyone seemed more excited that the meat wasn’t cooked because this would give them a great ‘Mark Story’ for future use. In the end, we went to the cafeteria and grabbed sandwiches or salads and came back to the conference room and shared a nice lunch with friends, which was the plan all along. What I learned is to always double check the order… and next time…. I’m going with the six foot party sub from Subway :).

If you have any Epic Fails or any stories of my Epic Fails… feel free to leave a note in the comments.