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

Meet Charlie, the TODAY “Puppy with a Purpose” 

Smithtown, NY (February 16, 2017)—America’s VetDogs®, a New York–based non-profit that provides specially trained guide and service dogs free of charge to disabled veterans and first responders, is excited to host its Seventh Annual Annapolis/Kent Island Run & Dog Walk (  The event will take place at Kent Island High School in Stevensville, Maryland, on Sunday, April 23, 2017, with on-site event registration opening at 7:30 a.m.  Proceeds will benefit the VetDogs service dog programs.

Event guests of honor include Army Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans, who received a hearing dog from the VetDogs program, and Charlie—NBC’s TODAY “Puppy with a Purpose.”  Evans, a lifelong runner, will speak about the life-changing difference her service dog has made, and Charlie will be available for photo opportunities and will demonstrate various service dog skills for those in attendance.

Evans was injured in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom while her base was taking mortar fire.  A blast that occurred near her left her with traumatic brain injuries and damaged eardrums, resulting in extensive hearing loss.  In 2015, she was teamed with a black Labrador Retriever named Aura, a hearing dog from VetDogs who was specially trained to respond to sounds by determining their location and alerting Evans.  The dog will then take her to the source of the sound.  “I don’t even know if I can articulate what a difference she has made in my life,” Gretchen declares.

Event Details
Held at Kent Island High School, the race will journey through the beautiful Cross Island Trail.  Participants can take part in a timed 10K or 5K race, a leisurely 2-mile family-friendly walk with or without a pup, or a 1-mile fun run.  The 5K/10K is a USATF officially measured course.  The opening program begins at 8:30 a.m. and timed races start at 8:45 a.m.  The dog walk will follow at 9:05 a.m. and the fun run shortly thereafter.  The closing awards ceremony will take place at approximately 10:30 a.m. 

Virtual Participation is encouraged.  By virtually participating, supporters from all over can fundraise and take on a 5K/10K, dog walk, or fun run in their hometown.  The Virtual Participation option is available within the registration area of the link below.

To learn more, to register, or to donate online visit  

Event sponsorship's are available.  To learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact Jaime McGrade at (631) 930-9054 or at

About America’s VetDogs® 
Since 2003, America’s VetDogs 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 that 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 is accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International to train guide and service dogs. 

To learn more or to donate, visit