Senior Staff Writer
Bark in the Park on Saturday proved to be a first-time success for those who care for canines as local animal shelter advocates reached one of their financial goals and their dog of the year was presented to an adoring audience.
Kelly Dalton rescued an English Shepherd last year from the animal shelter here and just before Christmas the dog named Roscoe intervened on behalf of his master's neighbor, a woman who was injured in a cow pasture when curious cattle came toward her in a cold four-inch-deep mud puddle.
"He kept her from suffering further injury," said Tim Oliphant, whose mother, Evelyn, dislocated her shoulder during her fall when walking to get a live Christmas tree on the family farm.
PAWS (Promoting Animal Welfare in the South) Now organized the day-long event that included karaoke, activities for children, food and trinket vendors, as well as a safety booth established by Lewisburg Police.
"Over $2,000" was raised for PAWS Now's continuing efforts to improve conditions at the city-county operated animal shelter, according to Susan Ragsdale's accounting of revenue and expenditures as of Sunday night.
She didn't have exact figures because there are odds and ends to calculate such as proceeds from T-shirt sales and expenses, but the early estimate nearly doubles the organization's project treasury.
"It did put us over the top in getting this first phase done," Ragsdale said. "We do have the money in place to finish phase 2A, the heating and air conditioning phase of the project, which is installation of the HVAC system donated by Blalock Heating and cooling."
It's the first of many phases to improve the shelter,
"Now," she said, "we will be seeking bids from licensed contractors to do the construction of the kennels. We didn't want to put the concrete wall up in back until we had the HVAC done first. After that, the back wall can be enclosed."
Another organizer of Bark in the Park was Janet Harris, who's also a member of the PAWS Now Board.
"We had good participation for a first year," Harris said. "We have a lot of room to grow. We've been able to get our message out. That was one of our goals."
While Saturday's air temperature might have felt like a breath of fresh air, the wind and overcast sky proved to discourage development of a larger crowd, but people did come and go, implying good if not great attendance.
"Most people here now are vendors," PAWS Now member Ken Todd said. "It's sad that it's raining and cold, but throughout the day, there's probably a couple hundred."
That may prove to be a low estimate because others estimated there were at least 100 dogs and each came with two people.
"Community awareness of the needs of the shelter, to help the shelter and address the overpopulation of dogs in Marshall County" were goals for the event, Harris said.
"The kids had fun even though it was cool," she said.