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New Barktown facility opening this weekend

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By Jennifer Corbett

After months of preparation, the new Barktown Rescue facility will officially be open to the public this weekend.

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Community members and dog lovers alike will be able to tour the new building on 295 Petersburg Road in Boston during a kickoff event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The event will include a yard sale and bake sale. Dogs will also be up for adoption.

Later this month, Barktown Rescue and the Bourbon City Bark Park will partner for the 2014 Bark Bash from 7:30 p.m. to midnight June 28 at Wickland. They hope to make it an annual event.

Proceeds from the event will benefit both organizations.

Monday afternoon, three Barktown Rescue volunteers were working in the building, getting it ready for Saturday’s opening. Vikki Lockhart, office manager and groomer, was sorting through paperwork in one of the offices. Ellen Demos, volunteer coordinator, was planting flowers in front of the building. Suzanne Bridwell, president of the organization, was watching the 12 dogs already housed in kennels in the building.

Bridwell said Monday the group has made tremendous progress to get the former Boston School building fully functional.

Wooden posts surround the back yard of the building, signifying where a 6-foot fence will be installed. There is already a fenced in area for smaller dogs to run around in. The hallways have been painted light blue and the floors have been redone to make them more dog friendly.

Bridwell said they still need donations such as paper towels, bleach and puppy pads.

In April, Barktown Rescue closed on the old Boston School. The 22,000-square-foot building will serve as a boarding service and a place to shelter dogs and cats until they’re adopted. The organization will also continue its foster home service.

Former classrooms will be turned into different rooms for large dogs, small dogs, nursing mothers and even cats.

“We’re really looking forward to the boarding business,” Bridwell said.

People will be charged $15 a night for boarding or $10 a day. Discounts will be given to families with multiple dogs.

The building was donated to the organization by Bruce Flint, a lawyer who lives in northeast Texas, who bought the building on eBay. Flint will also be involved with Barktown Rescue.

“It opens so many doors,” Lockhart said of the new building. “We will be able to save so many more dogs.”

With the addition of the new facility, Barktown hopes to start working in transports, where dogs are transported to facilities in other cities or states.

Bridwell mentioned several volunteers who have spent a lot of time working on the building, such as Nicki Coulter, who volunteers in the morning after working third shift.

“That’s the kind of people we have,” Bridwell said.

Heather Hefley, vice president of Barktown, has also spent a lot of time volunteering. Her boyfriend, Danny, is overseeing the fence construction. Danny and Bridwell’s husband, Chris, have worked through heat and rain to construct fences on the property.

Several kennels have been donated by Bonnie Miracle.

Demos said they’re accepting new volunteers to help with the upkeep of the building. If interested, contact Demos at (502) 510-5773.

While working in her office Monday, Lockhart had one of Barktown’s dogs, Goldie, by her side.

In addition to office manager, Lockhart will also serve as the facility’s groomer. In terms of grooming prices, small to medium dogs will cost $35. Large dogs will cost $45. It will cost $10 for a bath and $5 for a nail trim.

“There is nothing more special than having dogs running around while you work,” she said. “If your job is what you love, you’re not working. There is something special about doing what you love.”

Bridwell said the community of Boston has been helpful to the organization.

“The community of Boston has been very welcoming to us,” she said.

On June 28, the Bark Bash will be held at Wickland and proceeds will benefit Barktown Rescue and Bourbon City Bark Park. Read more about the event here.

To contact Barktown Rescue at its new facility, call (502)833-BARK, or 833-2275.