MOUNT VERNON — The Caring About Canines fundraising effort, launched in 2008 by volunteers Jill Kurpyl and Kim Humbert, has met its goal: A new and bigger fenced dog run at the Knox County Animal Shelter on Columbus Road.
Many dog lovers, students and other volunteers helped raise funds during a summer dog wash and through sales of T-shirts and other items, including doggie treat bags. Once the goal of $8,000 was met, work began before winter set in.
“We were able to start earlier than we thought we would,” said Humbert. “We didn’t think we could start until this spring. So that was great.”
Both women, their husbands, Andy Humbert and Jay Kurpyl, and several volunteers and businesses helped with the construction project.
“We tore down the old fence, dug post holes, rented a backhoe, installed latches on the gates, poured cement,” said Humbert. “I hand-sealed the whole thing. Then I couldn’t get out of bed for two days.”
The animal shelter’s indoor kennels are approximately 4-by-6-by-6 feet high. Volunteers have trouble walking large dogs who can’t hold still, are too excited to walk on a leash or have never been leash-trained. Now volunteers can let the dogs exercise themselves in the new run and play with other canines for socialization.
“The goal is to have as many dogs out for exercise as we can,” said Kurpyl. “The volunteers are able to put at least three dogs out in the run at a time, and it’s big enough that we can throw a ball for them to play fetch. We’ve probably tripled the number of dogs we can put out for exercise at a time. Volunteers try to exercise all the dogs once a day, but sometimes they don’t get out at all.”
As the dogs chased each other around the new run, Kurpyl and Humbert said funds remained after the dog run was completed, thanks to so much volunteer labor and donations.
“So we were able to have concrete poured for a dog run in front of the Knox County Humane Society [also on Columbus Road], and we gave a $500 donation to the KCHS canine program,” said Kurpyl.
Their next project is a 2010 “Mutts of Mount Vernon Charity Calendar,” with a photo of a locally rescued mixed-breed dog for each month. Kurpyl said it should be ready for sale in late summer. She is seeking advertisers and stores to sell the calendar. Send photos and information to Mutts Calendar, 605 Old S. Main St., Mount Vernon.
Labor and materials for the construction of the new dog run were donated by Buckeye Ready Mix LLC, Ohio Rental, Ellis Brothers Inc., Kevin (Maynard) Mizer, Dale Durbin, Alan Jenkins and Michael Heffernan, as well as folks who wanted to be known only as Dale, Gale, J.P. and Mike.