Dog finds way to make a difference in Douglas County

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- People all over Douglas County are getting ready to take the plunge to help stop child abuse, but they're not the only ones. Dean, a Black Lab, is willing to plunge for you.

The second annual Penguin Plunge is coming up this weekend, and his owner Sandi Justis decided that she wanted to take part in the event.

People from all over the county have donated money in order to jump into the chilly water at River Forks Park. All of the money raised will go to Douglas CARES, an organization that provides treatment for kids who have been physically or sexually abused or neglected.

Sandi knew that she wanted to get involved. "I feel child abuse is something, I mean, I think it makes everybody very sad, but for some reason I feel it's kind of overlooked," she said. "An idea that it doesn't happen in their neighborhood, and when you start really reading about it and learning about it, it's everywhere."

Sandi didn't want to jump in herself, so she's having her water loving dog Dean take the plunge for her.

Dean isn't only jumping on Sandi's behalf, as so far, the surrogate plunger has raised over $1,000 from local companies and friends and family all across the U.S.

Dean was originally raised as a guide dog for the blind, but he didn't quite make the cut. "Since he was born to serve and help others, I think it's just kind of appropriate that he's found a way back to doing that," said Justis, "especially here in our community where he lives."

Officials say they have already got more than 50 people signed up to plunge, which is twice as many as last year.

If you want to participate, it's not too late. Registration starts at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, and the brave souls will take the plunge at 11:00 a.m.

It costs $25 to register as an individual, and $100 for a team of five.

If you want to help, but don't want to brave the cold water, you can always donate to Dean... and he will do it for you.