Usually, most of the attendees to Statesboro monthly First Friday events are human, but this time there were more attendees of the canine persuasion.
The March 1 event, themed an “Arbor Day Paw Walk”, was hosted at the Statesboro City Dog Park]. The event featured several different options for canine attendees, such as the canine costume contest, dogs biscuits and the open play areas of the dog park.
The dogs, in addition to wearing their own costume or accessory, each have unique stories about how their owners or guardians met them.
Ruby’s guardian, senior biology major Angel Tumminello, attended First Friday with The Service Dog Training and Education Program and The Future Veterinarians Society from Georgia Southern University.
Tumminello is working with Ruby through the Southeastern Guide Dogs organization through its puppy raising program.
“So I have her until [she’s] three months old to around 16 months old,” Tumminello said. “And then she’ll go back to Southeastern Guide Dogs, and she’ll do about three to six months of formal harness training and hopefully become a guide dog.”
Tumminello mentioned that Ruby could also become a service dog, as Southeastern Guide Dogs has a program to provide service dogs to veterans with PTSD.
Trent Tarver explained that his daughter, Penelope, enjoys spending time with Petey. She even likes to walk Petey when she gets the chance.
Tarver explained that he originally found Petey on the side of a road, after possibly being hit by a car.
However, having three legs did not seem to Petey from enjoying the First Friday event with the family, as Petey had a chipper demeanor during the night.
Danny Garrigus, crime prevention coordinator and Sergeant of Investigations, attended with his Chihuahua, Buttercup, in tow.
“She’s lounging,” Garrigus said, referring to the meat he had just given her. “She’s like ‘Now we got a full belly, and we’re good now.’”
Buttercup was a foster failure that Garrigus and his family took in to live with them and several of their other dogs through fostering or adoption.
Garrigus mentioned that his wife, Kristy Garrigus, manages ReTails, a thrift shop affiliated with the Statesboro Humane Society. Purchases from there benefit the society’s rescue and spay/neuter programs.
Amanda Muldrew, Bentley’s owner and a tenth grader at Statesboro High School, mentioned that she and her family often bring Bentley out to First Fridays. She described how, in 2010, the monthly event brought her family and their dog together.
“We literally found him as a puppy when he was a few months old, and he was running down the middle of First Friday,” she said.
Luckily for her and Bentley, the roads were blocked off, so Bentley could not wander into traffic.
“And we tried to find his owner,” she added, “but he didn’t have one [there], so we scooped him up.”
The Statesboro City Dog Park is located between East Cherry and East Grady Streets along the Blind Willie McTell Trail.