Las Vegas 8-year-old continues run honoring police, military K-9s who died

Posted at 7:33 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 11:10:55-04

An 8-year-old girl from Las Vegas is running a mile at various tracks in different states to honor police and military dogs who died in the line of duty.

Salinas patrol cars escorted Theresa Ann and her family to the Hartnell College track.

There to cheer her on, a group of local first responders and special guest K-9 officer Oakley.

RELATED: 8-year-old Las Vegas girl honoring police, military personnel who died

Wednesday's run was to represent officer's four-legged partners in crime like Oakley.

"He's met Theresa, I think three times now. She's a very public figure here in Salinas. She travels here quite often even though she lives in Nevada. So, she's around a lot and every time she is out here she tries to say hi to Oakley," says Zach Dunagan, K-9 handler.

It's part of the national organization Running For Heroes which represents fallen officers as well as firefighters and soldiers.

But Theresa Ann wanted to represent a different kind of hero and one just as important.

"Because I want to run for all K-9s lost, because they don't get recognized as much as police do," said Theresa Ann, founder of Love With Lemons.

Salinas was her California stop and her second run after recently running in her hometown.

The ultimate goal...

"She decided she wants to do a mile for each K-9 that's been lost in the line of duty and we are going to do every state and she wants to run at least one mile in every state," says Robert Babcock, Theresa's dad.

Theresa's father said she's been supporting officers since she was three years old.

She has visited 24 police stations throughout California, and another 13 stations in Texas.

And her lemonade stand has raised $19,000 in the four years of operation.

"She just validates us, our work, and most importantly the memory of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty," said Salinas police chief Adele Fresé.

With one lap left, officers that were cheering her on joined her in running.

At the finish line, the flag Theresa Ann was running with the entire time was presented to the Salinas Police Chief.

The inspiring young girl has a busy summer ahead from here on out.

Her next stop will be June 5 in Texas where she'll run another mile and will give away a K-9 vest to a handler.