Back the Blue K-9 Force

RexRun for Pawsitity 2022 – Recap

Back the Blue K-9 Force’s RexRun 2022 was an event for dogs, police departments, participants, spectators, and vendors. It was a sunny Colorado morning in August, and the temperature outside was great. With all the events and people to meet, time went by quickly. My main regret was not having met everyone there. I hope you enjoy our highlights and recap of the day’s events.

Back the Blue K-9 Force and Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Therapy Dog Rex
Back the Blue K-9 Force and Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Therapy Dog Rex

RexRun 2022 Participants

The day’s mantra was supporting mental health and spreading awareness through therapy dogs. Rex, Zeke, their handlers, and all the participants were there to support this agenda. I hope we all agree that using therapy dogs to help support our growing mental health crisis is an effective way to break through and help those in need. The morning started right away with the RexRun 5k. There were three different ways to sign up. They consisted of a 5k race, a 5k walk (animals included), or a virtual walk/run. School Resource Officer Deputy John Gray and his therapy dog Rex (RexRun’s mascot), School Resource Officer Deputy Travis Jones, and therapy dog Zeke (Rex’s brother) participated in the events and were front and center. Also, Theresa Ann from Running 4 Heroes was proudly grouped at the front with the therapy dog teams. Next in line was the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Certified Therapy Horses. All of this was followed by the numerous participants and their furry friends. Overlooking it all was the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol. You would’ve enjoyed the entire day if you were an animal lover. I want to personally thank all the participants for their attendance and support of RexRun 2022.

Fast-forward to after the running and walking events. There are plenty of people to meet at the vendor booths, bids to complete at the silent auction, a massive bouncy house for the kids, a law enforcement officer softball tournament, food trucks, and K-9 demos. Next, examine the three represented police departments and animal/handler teams.

Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office was at the event in full force. The Bike Team was on patrol, ensuring the safety of attendees. The animal resources represented included a couple of K-9 Teams, School Resource Officer Deputy John Gray and Therapy Dog Rex, School Resource Officer Deputy Travis Jones and Therapy Dog Zeke, and the Arapahoe County Mounted Patrol. Finally, the diverse, entertaining, and personable Sheriff Tyler S. Brown was in attendance.

Obedience Training with K-9 Officer James Stiltner and K-9 Doc

Apprehension Training with Sheriff Tyler S. Brown, Brian Starbuck, and K-9 Voq

Aurora Police Department

The Aurora Police Department represented our next group of animal/handler teams. This K-9 Team consisted of K-9 Officer Tasha Ewert and Martigan, K-9 Officer Bobby Wong and Loki, K-9 Officer Nick Sullivan and Jax, K-9 Officer Nick Villani and Factor, K-9 Officer Mark Moore and Cyrus, and K-9 Officer Jeremy McElroy and Cooper.

Greenwood Village Police Department

The final group of K-9 Teams was Greenwood Village Police Department. This agency has a total of three handler/K-9 teams. Juan Villalva and K-9 Maverick, as well as a new handler with K-9 Mercury (German Shorthaired Pointer). In attendance was Jeffrey Mulqueen with his new K-9 Maverick.

Live Auction

Back the Blue K-9 Force acquired some fantastic items for a live auction. After the auction, the kids and officers danced along with the DJ. 

Law Enforcement Officer’s Softball Tournament

During the entire day, a softball tournament co-occurred and was an integral part of the RexRun 2022 event. I caught the semi-final game just before the heat index went crazy! Here’s some of the action.


During all the action, another photographer Annelise Erwin from her photography business, Preston Designs, caught Calypso among the crowd. She was gracious enough to send me the photos. Calypso is my 9-year-old Belgian Malinois. She also had a lot of fun at the event and met many people! Here’s hoping for a RexRun 2023, and I hope you all enjoyed my recap.

Colorado Top Dog's Calypso at Back the Blue K-9 Force's RexRun 2022 for Pawsitivity Event
Colorado Top Dog’s Calypso at Back the Blue K-9 Force’s RexRun 2022 for Pawsitivity Event

Back the Blue K-9 Force is excited to announce its first RexRun, celebrating the working dogs they love and support. This 501(c)3 nonprofit organization was created in 2016 by Diane Lewis and Judy Anderson. The foundation aims to provide financial support to law enforcement K-9 units, help departments obtain K-9s, and eventually add support for retired K-9s. The departments do not currently have funds allocated for K-9 safety or medical needs in their budget. Therefore, they raise monies to fill this gap for these departments and provide additional safety and peace of mind for the K-9s and their handlers.

K-9 Rex, the inspiration for this race, is a one-year-old black Labrador Therapy dog. K-9 Rex goes to 9 schools bringing smiles and comfort to the students. This race will help Back The Blue K-9 Force fund more Therapy K-9s and help with safety gear and medical needs. Money raised will also help apprehension, explosives, narcotics, and electronics detection K-9s.

At Dove Valley Regional Park, there is space for over 350 vendors, food trucks, K-9 Unit departments, bounce houses, face painters, and balloon artists. In addition, there will be an all-day competitive law enforcement softball tournament.

Three registration events are available. The Run is from 8 am to 9:30 am. The Walk (bring your dogs – 6 feet leashes are required, no retractable leashes, please) begins at 9:30 am and is over at 11 am. Virtual is from 7 am to 4 pm. All are $45 for early registration through May. In addition, all early people registering will get a RexRun Poker Chip.

Everyone registering will get a RexRun For PAWSitivity 2022 T-shirt.  

There will be several law enforcement K-9s at RexRun. Please respect their space. Always ask if you can pet them. Don’t allow your kids to run up to the K-9s or have your dogs close to these working dogs. The K-9 handler will direct you on proper behavior around their K-9. You are responsible for your children and pets.

Pet rescues will be at the event too.  Come out and maybe find your new walk/run buddy.

K9 Rex - Back the Blue K9 Force
K9 Rex

Here’s How You Can Help!

The Race

There are three ways to sign up. Virtually (You can roll over in bed and you’re still in the race), Casually (walk with your dog), or the Timed Race (for all you competitive in-shape Coloradoans).

Sponsorship or Vendor Booth

Softball Tournament

Heroes with Paws 2019

Colorado Top Dog Dog Training at Back the Blue K-9 Force in Greenwood Village.

Back the Blue K-9 Force’s benefit was fun and successful. They support the courageous K-9 officers and their human counterparts from the Arapahoe County Police Department, Greenwood Village Police Department, and the Parker Police Department. These K-9 Officers put on a bomb/drug scent work demonstration and protection demonstration and interacted with a house full of supporters. Thanks to Kuni Lexus of Greenwood Village for using the amenities in their world-class showroom. If you’re looking to impact your community positively, they’re the best. Back the Blue K9 Force donations benefit these K-9s with much-needed safety equipment, including bulletproof vests, raw dog food, and medical care. Would you mind donating to them today?

K-9 Handler Juan Villalva and K-9 Officer Miner

K-9 Handler Jeff Mulqueen and K-9 Officer Riggs