The Kennel Club of Fort Atkinson (KCFA) unveiled its latest community service project, “Puppy Serenade,” last Tuesday afternoon, n Rock River Park, near the entrance to the disk golf area.
This project honors the three founding members of KCFA — Patty Beran, Marleen LaPlant and Rita Hasel — and their dogs, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, “Cody”; Dalmatian, “Dottee”; and Scottish terrier, “Scarlett.”
This park-enhancing project features a bronze statue by local sculptor, Mark Dziewior; a tri-purpose (human/canine/bottle-filling) fountain; and a combination bench/pedestal. It was sponsored by KCFA funds, a Fort Atkinson Community Foundation grant, and donations by the community.
An initial “reveal” of the project — including a clay model of the bronze statue — was held in October 2020. At that time, all the artisans who had worked on the project were honored.
As the program began, Mabel Schumacher, treasurer of the Kennel Club and project coordinator, provided a brief history of KCFA.
“Patty, Marleen and Rita have a shared love of dogs,” Schumacher stated. “In 1991, these ladies, along with their dogs, met every week in a downtown parking lot to work their dogs in preparation for showing.
“They found they appreciated the support they received from each other and the benefit of sharing their enthusiasm about dogs,” she added. “As a result, they formed the Kennel Club of Fort Atkinson in 1992. Others with similar interests soon joined the fun.”
The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation, represented by Director Sue Hartwick, was thanked for its generous grant of $8,050 in support of the project.
Schumacher acknowledged several individuals, businesses and organizations that contributed to the success of the project. She cited Mark Dziewior’s meticulous creative talent that captured the essence of the three puppies.
Parks and Recreation Director Brooke Franseen, retired Director Scott Lastusky and retired assistant city engineer provided guidance and support from start to finish.
Fort Atkinson Parks and Recreation and Public Works craftsmen — J.J. Yanke, Robbie Allard, John Bennett, Rob Stine, Josh Crandall and Dennis Tessman — were recognized for their work on site preparation, concrete foundation, carpentry, asphalt and installation.
Bob Muench, of Stonecraft Masonry, who created the pedestal and bench; Mark Engelke, Chris Engelke, and Mike Paitel of Mark the Plumber, LLC; Mark Warren of American Awards and Promotions; and contractors Dodge Concrete, Hausz Brothers, Inc., and LaGrange Asphalt Plant also were acknowledged.
In reference to KCFA, Schumacher stated: “As a small all-volunteer nonprofit organization, the Kennel Club continues to pour its heart into the community — from dog training classes to public education about responsible dog ownership, to community service projects such as this one. Club members, we salute you.”
Dziewior stepped forward to unveil his Puppy Serenade statue, and Schumacher stated, “These are the pups that put Patty, Marleen and Rita on the pathway that led to the Kennel Club of Fort Atkinson. Thank you, ladies!”
Adding a special touch to the program was the surprise appearance of Birch, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Beran’s founding dog, Cody. The seven-month-old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever hopped up on the bench and was convinced (with a peanut butter treat) to place her paws next to her now-famous ancestor. Birch received a heart-shaped dog treat for her efforts.
Hasel, speaking on behalf of the three founding members, stated: “The three of us started the club for very selfish reasons, because we were enjoying what we were doing so much and we could do it together. Thanks to everyone who had anything to do with this, especially the Kennel Club for its continued success and its support to all of us.”
Schumacher concluded the program by thanking attendees and urging them to come back to enjoy Rock River Park and all its amenities, especially Puppy Serenade.
The Kennel Club of Fort Atkinson is an all-volunteer 501©(3) nonprofit organization, offering community service, education and training classes. Visit www.kcfadogs.org and the club’s Facebook page for more information.