Long Island run helps fund training and placement of highly trained service dogs to wounded veterans and first responders


Meet Charlie, NBC’s TODAY “Puppy with a Purpose” 

Smithtown, NY (July 7, 2017)— America’s VetDogs, the Long Island not-for-profit that provides specially trained guide and service dogs to disabled veterans, and home to TODAY’s ‘Puppy with a Purpose’ Charlie, is excited to host its 3rd Annual Long Island Run and Dog Walk (LIrace4vets.Vetdogs.org) in partnership with Nassau County and Suez.  The event takes place at Old Bethpage Village Restoration and The Museum of American Armor on Saturday, July 29, 2017.  Proceeds will benefit the assistance dog programs of America’s VetDogs.

Event guests of honor include U.S. Army veteran Sy Lederman and Charlie, the NBC TODAY “Puppy with a Purpose.” Lederman who served during World War 2, served in the 9th Armored Division in 1944. They landed in Normandy and very rapidly, saw action; eventually the division was responsible for the capture of the Ludendorff Bridge (also called the Bridge to Remagen). For 10 days, the 9th Armored kept the bridge open, allowing Allied troops to move into the heart of Germany. In 1960, Lederman was diagnosed with keratoconus, where the cornea gradually takes the shape of a cone. He later had six corneal transplants. Lederman currently works with a guide dog, a standard Poodle named Merlot from the VetDogs organization. 

In addition, Charlie, the NBC TODAY “Puppy with a Purpose” and his trainer Olivia Poff will be on hand to answer questions, be available for photo opportunities and will demonstrate various service dog skills for those in attendance.

Participants can take part in an officially measured 5K or a 2-mile walk at the historical Old Bethpage Village Restoration.  Participants of the dog walk must have their dogs leashed.

Event Registration

From now until July 26 at noon, registration for students, veterans, and active duty service members is $25, and civilian registration is $30. To register online, please visit LIrace4vets.VetDogs.org. Walk-up registration the day of the event is $35. All pre-registrants will receive a free event t-shirt. 

Virtual Participation

Virtual participation is available for non-local supporters.  By virtually participating, supporters can register for $25, fundraise in their own community, and take on a 5K or dog walk in their hometown.  A VetDogs t-shirt will be provided.  The Virtual Participation option is available in the registration area at LIrace4vets.VetDogs.org.

On-site registration the day of the race begins at 7:00 a.m.; the opening program featuring the guests of honor will be at 8:00 am, with the timed race beginning at 8:15 and the dog walk to follow respectively.  The post-race awards ceremony will take place at approximately 9:15 a.m.

If posting on social media, please use #LIrace4vets. 

For further information, please contact Jaime McGrade at 631-930-9054 or at Jaime@VetDogs.org.

About America’s VetDogs® 
Since 2003, America’s VetDogs (www.VetDogs.org) has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel. America's VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation. VetDogs relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.

Be sure to catch Charlie, the VetDogs ‘Puppy with a Purpose’ daily on NBC’s TODAY. 

America’s VetDogs has been accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.