This article originally appeared in August-September ’17 issue of Owensboro Living Magazine.

Saving Paws Animal Rescue of Kentucky ( SparKy) is a grassroots non-profit organization that is coordinated by John and Bridget Austin. The goal is to rescue and provide the utmost care for animals while helping to re-home them into a “furever” home. SparKy is a no-kill rescue, where euthanasia is performed only when recommended under the guidance of the organizational veterinarian. Rescued animals receive excellent necessary treatment, while all that is medically possible is done to allow the furry friends to continue to have a happy and quality life.

SparKy is able to provide services to animals by gracious monetary donations, as well as household items, from fundraisers and community support.

One fundraiser has had tails wagging in the community.  It came about when Bridget Austin and Mary Weddle attended another organization’s fashion show event, and discussed how SparKy should do the same but involve dogs needing homes. The ladies enlisted the brainpower of other SparKy members, and were able to successfully and fashionably execute a doggone good event called Bark in Style!

Bark in Style was a unique fashion show where local shops and boutiques modeled their latest styles and trends that featured adoptable dogs as models gracing the runway. After the poised pups highlighted their high fashion wares, SparKy sponsored a live auction, followed by an excellent meal prepared by Chef Matt Weafer, of the Campbell Club. Through the night, a silent auction was open for the barking…bidding, as well as a wine pull. The show was on the patio of the Campbell Club, and Chad Benefield served as the event emcee.

The event raised nearly $7500, an impressive amount for a first-time event that hopes to become an annual treat for the community.

Anyone can log onto their web site at www. sparkyrescue.com to make a donation, or can drop off needed items at Towne Square Animal Hospital. They also feature an app, where donations can be made: app.sparkyrescue.com

The website can also be used to find upcoming events, and to view animals ready for adoption. SparKy dogs go through a 12- week training program before they are placed with their new family.

Don’t stop “retrieving” that you can help our furry friends out of a “ruff” life. The goal is to find them a happy and healthy home by becoming a SparKy supporter to “man’s best friend.” It will be the “oppawtunity” of a lifetime for one of these precious pups.