NEW BEDFORD — It was literally a dog day in August on Saturday at Buttonwood Park as the city was introduced to Odie’s Place Animal Rescue, an organization without a building but with a big heart.
An estimated 80 to 100 vendors and organizations sprawled out across the park’s lawns on a day when the morning drizzle was being slow to abate.
But it was a cool, comfortable morning and it stayed that way all day until late afternoon when the event closed.
The event was called OdiePalooza 2, following up on the first event held on a smaller scale in Swansea last year. This year’s was festooned with food trucks and music, and everywhere one looked there were individuals and families with their dogs.
On a stage set up near the center of the park, live music was offered throughout the event.
Odie’s Place Animal Rescue is a three-year-old organization Brian and Kerrie Harrington founded as a way to channel their grief over the loss of their dog Odie to cancer.
“This is not a shelter,” Kerri emphasized. "It is more of a matchmaking service that puts abandoned dogs in the homes of compatible people and families, first by putting them in a foster home fully vetted by the organization."
Brian has been planning this summer event only a few months. “I never slept since May 1,” said Brian.
Kerrie said that obtaining their 501(c)3 non-profit status involved huge amounts of paperwork and a lawyer, but it was accomplished and people are being urged to contribute by going online at Odiesplace.org or by calling 508-971-6670.
Kerrie said that they look into just about everything when a person seeks to become a foster owner of dogs, or applies to adopt one. The group’s website contains a link to the application form, which is quite detailed and lengthy. The dogs themselves come from situations that forced their owners to give them up, such as a move to a place where the dog could not accompany the family, or when an individual dies and leaves a pet behind.
Kerrie said that she and her husband have “a passion for animals” and will personally visit adopting homes to see that the situation is right for the dogs and the owners. If there are children, special care is taken to make sure that the dog is compatible.
Buttonwood Park is a special place for the Harringtons. Brian said, “Odie loved Buttonwood. It was his favorite park.”
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