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Dog days of fall

The Mill Creek Greenway is going to the dogs.

On Sept. 18, Madison residents can get a first look at the new dog park, as the city and Bob Jones High School student Kristen Ponder are hosting the inaugural Dog Fair Day from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Ponder, 16, came up with the idea of the event as part of a Girl Scout Gold Award project, the girls’ equivalent of an Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts.

Ponder approached officials with the city about the idea, and the Madison Parks and Recreation Department quickly jumped on board.

“They were all for it,” Ponder said.

With the city’s back, Ponder, who wants to study to be a veterinarian, started putting together the event, which will include contests, educational booths, local veterinarians, both human and dog food and refreshments.

Contests will include smallest pet, biggest pet, best costume, most athletic and a best pet-owner look-a-like.

“She is very committed to doing this project,” said Leigh Christian, who has helped mentor Ponder on the project. “She has a real passion for pets.”

The fair will also feature homemade dog snacks that Ponder said were well received by her 2-year-old dachshund Lucy.

Each pack of snacks will include the recipe so pet-owners can make them at home.

In addition to educating people about their pets, Ponder also hopes the event will help introduce residents to the new dog park and become a staple in the community, as the city will take it over next year.

“People want a play place for their dogs here in town,” Ponder said.

Christian agreed.

“I feel like it’s a great way to introduce people to the new dog park,” Christian said. “I think people will very excited about how great that area is, and enjoy what the city of Madison has provided.”

Donations will be accepted during the event, and all proceeds will go towards the local animal shelters present at the fair.

Residents are asked to park in the parking lot on the corner of Mill and Balch Roads, or nearby at Mill Creek Elementary.

For more information about the event, call 256-772-9300.

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