Wild Woof West

Puppy Philanthropists Pay: Bosque Annual Rescue Kennel fundraiser March 5 deemed successful; Shirleys receive BARK Friends award; Sagers receive Legacy honor

CLIFTON – Following the Wild Woof West theme, guests came in their best boots and snazziest hats. Wanted Pooches posters on the walls, larger than life cacti, barbed wire, sunflowers and red checkered cups transformed the Market at the Mill March 5 into the annual Bosque Animal Rescue Kennel fundraiser.

Even though attendance was down a bit, the evening – with its extensive silent auction that garnered a lot of interest and great live auction items – raised over $40,000.

The kennel’s annual fundraiser usually gets funds for about 50 percent of the kennel’s operating costs -- caring for the dogs, keeping them fed and healthy, clean, warm in winter and cool in summer. The kennel also had two dedicated salaried employees, Jenny Kiper and Aryn Norris who coordinate everything that needs to be done, from scheduling volunteers, organizing foster homes, getting dogs ready for adoption events, offering community outreach and finally transport to their “furever” homes.

But it wasn’t all about raising money. It was also about fellowship with fellow dog lovers and enjoying some delicious appetizers, cocktails, eats and deserts. Also BARK board President Laura Bush paid tribute to the dedication to the BARK board, its volunteers and the pooch-friendly citizens that avidly support the dog shelter.

Signi Knudson was at the event because she used to volunteer at the shelter and wanted to show her continued support. Pam Davis has actively supported the care of stray dogs, by being a transport driver. Diane and Jerry Mobley just have a heart for dogs, and wanted to support this very special organization that looks out for canines in need. And the same could be said about An Thompson and Tracey Byrd.

The gala guests might not always be able care for more dogs to foster them in their homes, but they wholeheartedly show support to BARK’s mission to diminish suffering from emotional and physical neglect or abuse by showing love for these deserving creatures and encouraging their self confidence.

Rick and Lisa Shirley received the 2022 BARK Friends Award for their many years of supporting BARK.

The Shirley family, like many of the fundraiser’s guests just love animals, especially dogs. Their journey with BARK commenced all because a dog showed up on their doorstep and they did not know who to call.

Because Bosque County does not have county-funded animal control BARK and Bosque Spay and Neuter are the first stops for people who found a dog roaming around, or see animal neglect in their neighborhoods.

“BARK is a Bosque County jewel,” Rick said. “It is a statement of the general goodness of the people here. That really gripped me. And not many counties have a no-kill kennel.”

David and Glenda Sager received the kennel’s Legacy award – as they were one of the foundational building bricks the kennel was built on, showing all involved “the boots-on-the-ground BARK way.” Unfortunately the couple was not able to be present to receive this honor.

BARK’s “woman on the barricades for the Bosque doggos” and former BARK President Jackie Murski received an exceptional and well-deserved honor from Steve Olsen – the new addition to the kennel will bear her name.

Olsen commended Murski for the countless hours she devotes to BARK, saying she was tireless, devoted and a savior who just can’t say no to an abused, abandoned or forgotten dog; a woman as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. The audience agreed, giving Murski a standing ovation.

“They clearly surprised me with naming the new renovated kennels after me! What an honor from Steve & Peggy Olsen!” Murski said.

The Olsens additionally donated $10,000 to the newly opened building fund to finance the new, much needed building.

“The weather was grand and people definitely did enjoy themselves,” Gala organizer Murski said.”The decorations were beautiful and honestly it was the best decorated gala we have ever had! My favorite by far!”

BARK and its foster volunteers offer stray and abandoned dogs a temporary home until as they can be relocated to a loving “furever home.” BARK also promotes spay and neuter to reduce pet overpopulation, and provides low cost spay and neuter solutions to pet owners with limited finances. They encourage compassion for all animals, promote responsible pet ownership, and strive to educate everyone they come in contact with about the gift of animals.

“I’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to all who attended our 19th Annual Gala this weekend,” Bush said after the event on the BARK Facebook page. “To know we have such incredible support fuels us for the continued mission ahead. “

“ALL credit goes to Jackie and our incredible kennel team and volunteers for such a top notch evening!

Our event was an incredible success and it wouldn’t be possible without our donors, volunteers, underwriters and team. Thank you so very much for loving our mission and trusting us to do what we do every day. Here’s to a year of saving more dogs than ever before!”

During the evening, endearing photos of the dogs up for adoption were shown on the stage screen -- to name a few.

For those who were not able to attend, donations or sponsorships through the BARK website and purchases through the BARK Amazon page are always welcome. The animal shelter is also always on the lookout for boots-on-the-ground volunteers to help out with the dogs at the kennel.

Also, keep in touch with BARK through their Facebook pages: BarkRescueKennels and BARK-Community-Outreach.

These pages often request help regarding fostering dogs in need, rehoming dogs when their owners have passed away or finding owners of strays, or missing dogs. All abandoned and neglected dogs deserve a loving home. And thanks to donations and support BARK can help the puppers find their furever homes. And offer them a good life, helping them trust again, and with plenty of play time with other dogs.

Check out the BARK website for adorable dogs and puppies like Spooky, Ava, Rip, Juno, Sadie, Hooch, Finley, Mister, Oscar, Tank, Tex and Dude, to name a few that are currently up for adoption: BARK Meet-The-Dogs.

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

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