Dog Walk-a-thon raises funds to build Dog Park in Mattapoisett
MATTAPOISETT — Dogs and their human companions strolled through the center of Mattapoisett on Saturday, Aug. 24 to help Freemin Bauer achieve his goal of bringing a dog park to his hometown.
Bauer started his initiative four years ago for his “Eagle Project” as a boy scout. He said that he chose the dog park as his project because he “just really loves dogs.”
Baur’s goal is to raise $10,000 towards his project, and then apply for a grant from the Stanton Foundation to get an additional $90,000 for a total of $100,000 to build his dog park. Bauer’s mother, Jodi Bauer, said that they would need about an acre of land, and that a specific location has not been chosen, but the town’s Selectmen are currently working on finding an appropriate space for the park. Prior to this year’s walk-a-thon, the Bauers had raised about $5,000 for their park.
Participants in the fourth annual Dog Walk-a-thon registered at Center School on Barstow Street, and then chose a half mile, or one mile route to get some exercise and support a mutual cause. Registered participants were given T-shirts, and the chance to win a prize. Tickets were placed in a jar in front of prizes like dog toys, bath supplies, and gift cards to local sponsors like Oxford Creamery, and On The Go. Walkers participated between 8 a.m. and noon, and registered with a $20 donation toward the Bauer’s goal.
The Bauers also had a contest where a prize was given to to whoever had the closest guess to the question of “how many registered dogs are there in the Town of Mattapoisett?”
Jodi Bauer didn’t want to give the answer away before the day was over, but did say that the town of about 6,000 people has over 1,000 registered dogs.
With so many dogs in the small town, participants Matt and Suzanne Churchill said they chose to participate because dogs need to have exercise and a sense of community, just like people. For Freemin Baur’s grandmother, Lois Ennis, giving dogs a safe place to play is an important reason to build the dog park.
Dogs of all ages and breeds were welcome to participate. Calvin the Jack Russell Terrier has now walked in the event four years in a row. He has also been featured in the Bauer’s calendar celebrating the event, and their dog park project. In his old age, he had to take it slow to reach the finish line, but the senior dog still finished the half mile route.
Calvin’s owner Kate Coughlin said that she doesn’t know her dog’s exact age, because he is a rescue, but estimates that he is about 14 to 16-years-old.
The event also gave local children the chance to get outside, and exercise alongside their dogs. 9 year-olds Braylee and Ashlynn walked with Golden Retriever Arlow, and Boston Terrier Kiki, and then posed for photos with Freemin Bauer dressed in his Bulldog costume.
Bauer is now 20-years-old, and is a student at Bristol Community College, and works at a local oyster farm. He has three bulldogs, named Elouise, Louey, and Mia. To make a donation towards the dog park call 508-758-2825, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.