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Fundraising efforts for off-leash park in Woolwich

Brad Pattison, host of TV show At the End of My Leash, vigorously advocates exercise for dogs. To that end, he’ll be helping the fundraising effort for an off-leash dog park in Elmira when he joins Waterloo Region’s trainers for a weekend of fundraising and dog training on Sept. 8.

“We’re waiting for reports to come back … it sounds like we probably will get one,” said organizer Shanna Hoffer of efforts to get a dog park built.

Lyric Pauley(left) recently approached Woolwich council with an idea for an off-leash dog park. Pauley and local dog trainer Shanna Hoffer are looking to raise money for the project through community events. [elena maystruk / the observer]
Hoffer got to know Pattinson when she was having trouble with training her own dog and through him became a certified trainer herself.

In June, a local Elmira business owner approached Woolwich council with an idea for the facility. Lyric Pauley, who runs ShamPoochies Dog Grooming in Elmira, advocated for an off-leash park where dogs could release pent-up energy, thus decreasing the bad behavior that often comes from boredom and lack of exercise.

Woolwich councillors seemed on board with the idea, but wanted to make sure they would not be footing the entire bill for the project, Lyric explained as she and Hoffer prepare to welcome local dog owners to the first of what they hope to be many fundraising efforts for the park.

Eager to forge ahead with plans, Hoffer collaborated with The Village Pet Food Shoppe as well as the Elmira Lions Club to put on a two-day event.

“[Pattinson] suggested doing something community related,” Hoffer said of the donations the organizers hope to receive. Saturday’s admission fee for the training session with Pattinson is $25 per person (dogs included) with a food item to be donated to the Elmira food bank, which recently expressed a need for donations.

Pauley had suggested Bolender Park as a possible location for the park, but township officials are looking at several locations in Elmira and St. Jacobs.

“I believe the next step is to have a public input for dog owners, pet owners and non-pet owners to come and give their input of location,” said Woolwich Mayor Todd Cowan. “All of council has agreed and committed to a dog park we’re just finding location, figuring out what the actual costs are.”

Hoffer believes that raising money and finding a good location for the park are the main challenges ahead.

She and Pauley hope Pattinson’s training session will be one of many fundraisers to come as they plan further local events, taking ideas from shows like the Amazing Race and incorporating them into activities for local pet owners, trainers and their dogs.

Dog owners and trainers will be meeting at the Village Pet Food Shoppe on 30 Church St. in Elmira next weekend. On Sunday, Pattinson will hold a training seminar at Lions Hall at 40 South St. followed by a barbecue at the same location where visitors can rub elbows with local pet professionals. The admission fee for Sunday’s event is $56.50 ($75 after Sept 1). Businesses interested in donating items for Sunday’s raffle may contact Shanna Hoffer at 519-500-3594 or Lyric Pauley at 519-502-8126.

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