Thousands of locals voted for the Ashland-based Bandit's Adoption and Rescue of K-9s (BARK) to win the Animal Planet Pet Nation Shelter Renovation contest. The agency is named in honor of Bandit, a neglected dog rescued in 1987.
The contest afforded BARK some desperately needed renovations at the kennels, which is a safe haven for abused and neglected dogs rescued in the Richmond-metro area. Many dogs that arrive at BARK are within 12 hours of euthanization.
As a result of rescuing more than 4,500 dogs in 10 years, the shelter had a lot of wear and tear.
"We were astounded," said Claire Tetrick, BARK board member. "One, that we had so much support from the community and also that we came out as the winners of it!"
"It is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity," she said. “I’m not sure we could have ever raised that amount of money.”
After four weeks of renovation by the PET NATION team, BARK is now outfitted with state-of-the-art kennels, an agility dog park and several cost-saving improvements were made.
The makeover was made possible by Ace Hardware and Delta Faucet, sponsors of the special who provided more than $100,000 for the renovation through fiscal, product and labor donations.
The renovation culminates in an on-site adoption event to find the dogs forever homes. Celebrity dog groomer Jorge Bendersky and ANIMAL adoption expert Jill Rappaport will be in the episode, helping to make sure the dogs look their best and when matched with the perfect family.
Voting lasted over a three-week period and the organization was officially notified that they won on May 10.
Though, it was almost a missed opportunity.
Tetrick said a volunteer originally forwarded the link to the contest, with the sentiment "can't win if we don't enter."
Win they did, and locals can’t wait to tune in and see the new digs.
Tetrick extended "a huge thank you to everyone in the community who supported us and voted for us in the process."
The shelter renovations will air in a two-part series.
The BARK renovation airs on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ANIMAL Planet. The series is hosted by ANIMAL expert and home renovation enthusiast Dave Salmoni, and features the ANIMAL shelter renovation experts from Project Pawsitive,
A livestreaming event is being planned locally at Strangeways Brewing, with details to soon be announced.
The second episode of PET NATION RENOVATION, which features a makeover for the Michigan ANIMAL Rescue League (MARL) in Pontiac, Michigan, will air Fall 2016.
Animal Planet is on Verizon as ANIMAL130, ANIMAL1565, APHD630.
Animal Planet is on Comcast on ANIMAL48, APHD241, APHD868.
The entry video the group submitted is below: