The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 23, 2013

Local rescue to host Dog Week gatherings

NORTH MANKATO — Pit bulls mingled with labs. Puppies got to know mastiffs. And people chatted with people.

The Bluff Park scene Saturday was neighborly, dog-friendly and a great prologue to National Dog Week, which is celebrated annually during the last full week of September. A new foster-based animal rescue, which also organized Saturday’s gathering at the park, is using this week as an opportunity to reach out to the community and raise some awareness.

Faith, Hope and Forever Animal Rescue isn’t just a foster organization. It’s also a resource for pet owners and the community in general, said Kristy Olson, co-director and foster coordinator.

The organization connects people with financial resources if they’re having trouble with vet bills. They help educate people on dog behaviors and help ensure families get along swell with their new four-legged friends. And they’re steadfast animal advocates, Olson said.

“I think it’s about raising awareness in general (about all of these things),” Olson said of the group’s purpose this week.

So, just as the group has been doing since it began in June, they have tons of upcoming activities planned to raise awareness about Faith, Hope and Forever, about fostering animals and about pet ownership, in general. And those activities begin this week, with a two-hour gathering today through Thursday at the Kiwanis dog park on Highway 169.

From 6-8 p.m. nightly, people are encouraged to bring their dogs, learn about the rescue, have some lemonade, meet some animals up for adoption, donate needed supplies, or learn about volunteer opportunities.

The organization has fewer than 20 volunteers who help foster animals, and there’s always a need for more, Olson said. Volunteers don’t necessarily have to take pets into their homes; there’s also a need for such things as bringing animals to vet appointments.

Every bit helps in working toward the nonprofit’s mission, Olson said, which is to save as many animals as possible and get them into “forever homes.”

If You Go What: A National Dog Week celebration, organized by Faith, Hope and Forever Animal RescueWhen: 6-8 p.m. today through Thursday at the Kiwanis dog park on Highway 169, just north of the Highway 14 intersectionInfo: faithhopeandforever.org; Sandi Braun, 327-9660, or sandi.fhfar@gmail.com

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