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Thursday, August 02, 2012

“Pet Trick Day” set for Aug. 11 in Crabapple.



Courtesy City of Milton

Attention all Milton dog owners: On Saturday, Aug. 11, a community “Pet Trick Day” will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dog Wash Café in Crabapple – and every dog that does a trick will get a prize.

The Dog Wash Café is located at 12635 Crabapple Road, Suite 230 in Milton (click here for directions).

The event is the brainchild of 13-year-old Northwestern Middle School student Thomas Eller, who, along with his older brother Zack, runs Woof ‘Em Down Dog biscuits, a non-profit company that raises money for homeless pet shelters.

Eller applied for and received a mini-grant for “Pet Trick Day” from the Better Together: Real Communities - Milton Mini-Grants Initiative, which has also funded landscaping projects at Milton Fire Station No. 43, a community art installation, an adapted riding stable and two “Living Room Conversations.”

Eller said he jumped at the chance to apply for a grant because he saw its potential for the community.

“This event, it’s not a fundraiser, it’s just an opportunity to get a lot of people in town out and having fun,” said Eller. “Every dog that comes out can get a prize, even if its best trick is sitting.”

Engaging the city’s youth for fresh ideas is one of the program’s goals, said Amanda Quintana, grant coordinator for the Better Together initiative.

“Our mission is to build community, and sometimes the best way to do that is by finding a shared interest like pets,” she said. “A fun, festive event like ‘Pet Trick Day’ seemed a perfect fit for our grants.”

Since 2007, Thomas and Zack have donated more than $13,000 and 1,000 pounds of dog food from the sale of their homemade Woof ‘Em Down biscuits to homeless pet shelters. Because of the work, the Ellers have earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award four years running. Additionally, in 2008 Thomas and Zack were chosen by Disney's “Wondertime Magazine” and the nonprofit Points of Light Foundation as Grand Prize winners in the "Littlest Volunteers" contest. That same year, they also received the Shining World Compassion Award in recognition for their efforts.

Zack Eller also serves on the Better Together grant board. However, his position had no influence on his brother’s selection, said Quintana.

Better Together is funded in large part through the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities' (GCDD) Real Communities Initiative: Milton. The grants support neighborhood improvements, promote neighborhood connections and fund projects that bring community members together.

Currently, GCDD provides Milton a little less than $20,000 in federal funds and the city matches just less than $5,000.

For more information on this event, contact Thomas Eller at 678-630-5179 or woofemdown@bellsouth.net.

For more information on the Better Together: Real Communities - Milton Mini-Grants Initiative, click here. For more information on Woof ‘Em Down Dog Biscuits, visit http://woofemdown.com.

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