PARKERSBURG - Kirby, a 6-month-old Labrador/retriever mix, was named Wood County's Top Dog in the annual essay contest sponsored by the assessor's office.
This is the second year for the competition, which is open to Wood County children kindergarten-through-fifth grade.
"I modeled it after a similar program in Athens, Ohio. The idea primarily is to educate the public on the importance of having tags and how helpful they are in trying to retrieve lost pets," Assessor Rich Shaffer said. The number on a dog license can be used to get owner contact information.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Wood County Assessor Rich Shaffer awarded Top Dog honors to Kirby, the 6-month-old Labrador/retriever mix belonging to Mackenzie Turley, 8, of Williamstown.
Mackenzie Turley, 8, said her dog is part of the Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization that provides trained assistance dogs to those with disabilities.
"He is working hard to learn to work with someone in a wheelchair," Turley wrote in her essay. The family has had the dog since he was eight weeks old and will train him for 18 months.
"At that time he goes back to the organization for additional training at their facility, then he will be assigned to someone who has disabilities," said Cindy Turley, Mackenzie's mother. "This is the fourth dog we've trained. We got involved with the program because we wanted to help, and we thought it would help the kids learn about volunteerism. It is hard to give them up after 18 months. But it's a great lesson for the kids."
Take Care Of Your Best Pal
All dogs six months or older are required to have a current license.
License numbers can be checked through the assessor's office on Wood County's website www.woodcountywv.com to help locate the owner of a lost pet.
"My dog should be the No. 1 dog because he is a great family pet and will go on to be a great service dog for someone else," Mackenzie said.
Shaffer purchased the No. 1 dog tag for the contest winner and provided some doggie treats and gifts for Mackenzie.