By Kelsey Keener
Iron County Today
Volunteers from Friends of Festival Country K-9s hosted a Spring Pet Portrait photography session at Petsense on Saturday to raise money for the Enoch Dog Park.
Community members were invited to come to the pet store to have portraits taken of their pets by professional photographer Amanda Clark, who donated her time and skill to help with the fundraiser.
Clark said she was willing to donate her time in order to help give back to the community.
“Part of why I wanted to get into photography was to give back, so it’s just a great way to do that,” she said.
Friends of Festival Country K-9 volunteers and board members have been working to build to a dog park in Iron County for several years. The city of Enoch is building a new animal shelter and donated three acres of the allotted land for that project to FFCK for a dog park.
Michele Barkemeyer, board member and volunteer for FFCK, said she joined the cause because she understands the need for a dog park after moving from Las Vegas.
“I was really disappointed that there wasn’t a dog park in Iron County and no place to walk your dogs off-leash,” she said. “I understand from living in Las Vegas how important it is and a lot of people that don’t have yards or live in condominiums that need to have a place to take their dogs out to socialize so I joined the organization and I have been a volunteer for the last five years.”
Diane Gil, board president and volunteer for FFCK, said the money raised from the portraits will go toward fencing two of the three phases for the dog park. The fencing will be six-foot chain link, with double-door gates to prevent dogs from getting loose. Gil said she hopes that the portrait sessions will show the community that FFCK still needs a lot of help to finish this project.
“We need volunteers,” Gil said. “It is a community project; we’re all volunteers and some of us have been volunteers since 2012. So anybody that comes in to help us, we just really welcome it.”
FFCK plans to have training classes and agility obstacles at the park, among many other things.
“We’re going to try to leave a lot of natural vegetation, but we are going to have lawn,” Gil said. “We would like our park to have a lot of different elements. So we’re looking for, say, Eagle Scouts to come in and put fun things for the park or benches, anything like that. We want informational kiosks. We would eventually like a water feature too.”
Gil said a dog park is a great place for dogs and people to socialize, bring the community together and adds a way for community members with dogs who may not otherwise be able to, to exercise their dogs.
“There’s so many people out there who are disabled or unable to exercise their dogs and they need a location to go,” she said.
FFCK created a 501(c)(3) organization in 2012 in order to build a dog park for the community, and efforts to create and complete the project have been underway since then. Volunteers from FFCK have hosted many fundraisers, including auctions, paint nights and micro-chipping clinics among other things. FFCK sells items such as jewelry, magnets and clothing at Petsense to help raise money as well.