Support for MSGAO will be a “Bark in the Park”

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By Trisha Gurley

Spring is here, and it’s time for you (and your dog) to get outside. Your chance to enjoy nature, get exercise, and support animals all at the same time is coming soon! Mid South Greyhound Adoption Option (MSGAO) is holding its first ever Bark In The Park Fun Dog Walk on Saturday, April 17th, from noon–3 pm. The event takes place at Overton Park’s North Parkway Pavilion.

Founded in 1991, MSGAO is an adoption program for retired racing greyhounds. Located in the Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis, the goal is to find loving, forever homes for these greyhounds. They also have a greyhounds-only boarding program for vacationing owners.

“I don’t like the R-word, rescue,” says Vicki Cohen, the director of MSGAO since 2006. “My greys are with us until they find a home.” The facility can house 40 adoptable dogs and can board up to 20 dogs. Aside from Cohen, MSGAO has two full-time and two part-time staff members. Multiple volunteers fill in the gaps. All greyhounds are spayed or neutered and given veterinary care before being put up for adoption. Contrary to what some may think, greyhounds are very adaptable to a home environment; in fact, they should be strictly indoor pets due to their short coats and low body fat. They are also ideal dogs for apartment/small home dwellers.

As for what keeps MSGAO running, Cohen says “[We’re] partially funded by Southland Park as well as donations from the local kennel operators, race dog owners, gift shop sales, area fundraisers, and from donations, both corporate and private.” While all of these sources are a great help, MSGAO still needs additional funding to keep going. Hence Bark In the Park, which combines a dog walk, bake sale, contests, box lunch, and vendors.

Rock 103’s Bad Dog and Ric will be the celebrity judges for the contests. Committed vendors include Blue Paw Design (collars and accessories), Got Greyhounds (greyhound-themed jewelry), Hollywood Feed, Petworth (dog food home delivery), The Athletic Animal (massage therapy for animals), and Seize the Clay. If you are interested in being a vendor, call MSGAO at 870-735-7317. There is no charge to be a vendor.

Sound like fun? It is! The cost is $20 per human, which includes a box lunch and t-shirt. Bring your own drinks. Dogs of any breed are welcome but not required. To ensure the availability of your box lunch and t-shirt, go to midsouthgreyhound.com before April 5th to print out an order form to send with your payment. All proceeds will go to raise funds for MSGAO.

Walk-ups may attend with box lunches as available. Rain date is Saturday, April 24th.

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