The walkers were greeted at the Poor Peoples Pub by owner and longtime Walk supporter Jim Keating and posed for a portrait before heading back to the park. (Photo by Thomas Beeler) (click for larger version)
September 05, 2018WAKEFIELD — There were a lot of wagging tails and happy dog owners last Saturday morning, as the Wakefield Food Pantry gathered participants at Turntable Park in Sanbornville for the Seventh Annual ARFF Walk.
ARFF stands for Animals Raising Funds for Food. It is the pantry's major fundraiser of the year. Beginning last year, the pantry teamed up with the Lakes Region Humane Society, with LRHS Director Megan Fichter coordinating publicity with Pantry Fundraiser Beth Hayes.
As owners gathered with their dogs at the park, Fichter spoke about LRHS and its shelter in Ossipee. So well has the shelter placed dogs for adoption this past year it is short of local dogs and has been bringing up dogs from overloaded "kill" shelters in the south, particularly Texas. Lakes Region Humane Society itself is not a "kill" shelter; instead it holds rescued pets as long as needed until they are adopted.
Despite the currently shortage, the shelter has taken in 25 percent more dogs in 2018 than it did in 2017: 225 vs. 199.
For those looking to adopt a lifelong friend, Fichter urges being preapproved for adoption so when the right pet comes along, it can be placed immediately.
For more information on the Lakes Region Humane Society and to see what pets are currently available, visit its website, lrhs.net or call 539-1077. The shelter's next fundraising event is Play Fore the Pets golf tournament at the Kingswood Golf Club on Sept. 14.
The ARFF Walk began promptly at 11 a.m. with Wakefield Police controlling traffic as the walkers and their pets marched down Meadow Street from Turntable Park to the Poor Peoples Pub, led by Pantry Board Member Tracey Kolb in her stuffed dog-draped car. At the Pub they were greeted by owner Jim Keating and posed for a group portrait.
Ribbons were awarded to pets who came the farthest and walked the farthest. The tallest dog in the Walk was Oberon, an Irish Wolfehound led by Linda Loucony, who has participated in every Walk. The dog who walked the farthest was Bella, a Maltese-Yorkie-Shi-tzu mix who held her own amid her much larger peers.
The most imaginative entry was by former Wakefield Food Pantry Secretary and 2018 Citizen of the Year Carol Lundgren, who held an invisible dog by a stiff leash.
Last year the ARFF Walk raised more than $6,000. The pantry has won the support of the towns of Brookfield, Milton and Wakefield which together pay for its operating expenses. Since the staff, directors and volunteers are all unpaid, every dollar donated to this 501(c) 3 nonprofit goes to purchase food. For more information on the pantry or to find how to donate or volunteer, visit its new Web site at wakefieldnhfoodpantry.com or call 522-3094. The pantry is located at 1500 Wakefield Rd. (next to the Wakefield Highway Garage) and is open every Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.
Both the Wakefield Food Pantry and Lakes Region Humane Society can also be found on Facebook.