Gwennie: Bark in the Park Mascot Contest Winner!

Gwennie is our 2019 Bark in the Park Mascot Contest Winner!

Join Gwennie and our runners-up, Hoss and Willow, along with the whole 2019 Mascot entourage at Bark in the Park on May 18 in Forest Park!


Meet Gwennie!
Owner: Jeanne Poynton
Adopted from: Pet Rescue Network
Why should your pup represent all rescued animals at Bark in the Park:
“Please show us your most unadoptable dog.”

An hour later, my husband and I agreed that the little Labrador mix, with her remodeled nose and almost human eyes, needed us. Soon, we were adopting the saddest dog Gwennie: Bark in the Park Mascot Contest Finalist!we'd ever seen. And to embrace the cliché, little did we know, we needed her even more than she needed us. A trip to our vet revealed a past we weren't expecting. Teeth that were filed. Feet that were splayed. A ridge in her muzzle where rope had tied it shut. All that, along with her nose and body scars, were telltale signs that she was a bait dog.

The horror that Gwennie experienced before we brought her home gave us the resolve to make sure the rest of her life was the best life.

Gwennie is now the happiest dog most anyone has ever met. She wuffles, snorts, purrs, grunts and – occasionally, barks. She's both sassy and frassy. And is proudly a spoiled princess.

Trips to pet shops and boutiques, parks, frozen custard stands, drive thrus, our friends homes and anywhere pet friendly helped our little girl realize that the world was a world of light... and noms. Gwennie has never met a treat she doesn't adore. Doesn't NEED. To say that she is loved is an understatement. Of course my husband and I adore her silly self, but she truly belongs to everyone she meets. People see the physical reminders of her previous life and stop to talk to us. We tell everyone the limited details of her story in an effort to education and make people aware that abused animals aren't unadoptable.Many cry. Many confide to Gwennie their own dark stories. Many decide she's their best friend. And everyone who says that is right. Because she is.


2019 Mascot Contest Finalists

Pet Name: Hoss
Owner: Mary Hoegemann
Adopted from: Partners for Pets
Why should your pup represent all rescued animals at Bark in the Park: Honestly, Hoss’s rescue story is quite unremarkable. With hundreds of stories of abuse, neglect, and abandonment, his narrative hardly seems qualified to represent all rescued pets at Bark in the Park. But for each story of bait dogs, hoarding situations, and medical miracles, there are shelter cages filled with amazing pets wondering why their owners aren’t coming back. Hoss’s story is one of those.

Hoss’s story doesn’t contain a heartwarming moment where he learned to trust peoplHoss: Bark in the Park Mascot Contest Finalist!e again or a turning point where he overcame behavioral issues. Hoss came to Partners for Pets as an outside dog that no one had time for, surrendered because his owner’s other dogs were picking on him. When I adopted him, he was an easy-going dog with minor insecurities that quickly disappeared as he adjusted to my home. Hoss’s story is far from headline material; nevertheless, it is a story that should be shared.

Most often we hear stories of inspirational rescues, and those stories certainly need to be heard. However, if dramatic stories are the only ones told, it can cause people to generalize that all rescue pets have drastic behavioral problems. I have encountered many people with the opinion that shelter pets have too many issues and they would rather buy from a breeder to ensure a “perfect” pet. While many shelter animals do require extra care and training, this should not be a reason to disregard adoption altogether.

If Hoss were chosen as Bark in the Park’s mascot, he would represent the hundreds of ordinary adoption stories that go untold because they are considered not worth telling. I believe we need more unremarkable stories shared to change the idea that shelter pets are damaged animals and to show that the perfect pet can really be found waiting in a shelter cage.

Pet Name: Willow
Owner: Sharyn Kneipp Adopted from: HSMO Why should your pup represent all rescued animals at Bark in the Park: Willow was a rescue that the HSMO did in January 2015 from a hoarder in Washington County.

She lived outside with little water and no food. She had skin infections, overgrownWillow: Bark in the Park Mascot Contest Finalist! toenails and torn ears. I foster for the HSMO, so Willow came to my house that summer and immediately bonded with me. She would not leave me out of her sight. When I fed her, she would grab some food and would run into the other room to eat it. It took her several months to realize that all the food was for her! She worked her way into my heart and I adopted her on July 13, 2015.

That September she became ill and we went to VSS. She was diagnosed with immune mediated meningitis and placed on prednisone, seizure medicine (which she remains on for the rest of her life) and an immunosuppressant. Willow also had hemorrhagic gastroenteritis to deal with that Christmas. She was so good about taking her medicine! She went into remission the next year and did well until she relapsed in 2018. Back in all her meds!

In August, she started having GI issues, back to VSS with a diagnosis of colitis. Thankfully, she is doing great at this time. She remains very bonded and wants to cuddle or sit on my lap whenever I am sitting down - just a love bug who has added so to my life. She is my fur baby. Despite all the trips to her neurologist, internist and the ER, she remains happy and loving. She lights up when I come home and just wants to sit by me and be paid attention too. She is the light of my life and luckily, I have been able to provide for her ongoing health care and all the attention she wants! Could not imagine my life without my precious cuddle bug. Willow is only eight years old and I look forward to many more years loving her.


Gwennie's Entourage