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Daily Pilot

'Six-legged' walk supports guide dog programs

Man who works in Costa Mesa founded nonprofit that helps raise funds and awareness for guide dogs.

By Bradley Zint

5:42 PM PST, January 30, 2013

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Gayle Clauson's guide dog is loyal and thorough.

Rocca, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador, has been with Clauson, who is blind, since June. Things have been working out great so far.

But this Saturday in Dana Point, Rocca's otherwise top-notch training might not be the most useful in the Running of the Dogs, which aims to raise funds and awareness for guide dogs.

"She's so cautious, she'll probably make me come in last," Clauson said with a laugh.

Rocca and her master plan to partake in the 2k "six-legged" walk portion of the event at Salt Creek Beach Park. It takes place from about 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and is followed by a 5k run that ends about 10:30.

Running of the Dogs is organized by Tee Off For Dogs, a Dana Point-based nonprofit that supports the visually impaired and guide dog programs.

Last year, the organization sponsored Clauson's training with Rocca. She is Clauson's third guide dog and, so far, the best.

"She's a charm," Clauson said. "My little lady, she keeps me so safe."

Frank Frand, a Dana Point resident who works for the Automobile Club of Southern California in Costa Mesa, founded Tee Off For Dogs, which until this weekend had only organized golf tournaments.

Like Clauson, he too is legally blind and knows the value of guide dogs.

"What they've given me is priceless, virtually," Frand said.

He's hoping for 150 walkers in the six-legged portion and 100 runners for the 5k.

The online registration fee is $25 for the walk and $45 for the run. Registration Saturday morning is $5 more for each.

For more information or to register, visit http://www.teeofffordogs.org.

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @bradleyzint

If You Go

What: "Running of the Dogs," a fundraising event for guide dogs for the blind

Where: Salt Creek Beach Park, 33333 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Dana Point

When: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday

How much: Pre-registration is $25 for the 2k "six-legged" walk for dogs and their masters. The 5k run is $45. Walk-in registration is $5 more for each.