Gertie Brown and her dog Barney Brown in the garden. (Photo credit Brian Lawrence)

Garden tour supporting PAWS

Gertie and Barrie Brown love their dog, Barney Brown. So much so that they have organized Barney Brown’s Garden Tour to thank Creston’s Pet Adoption and Welfare Society for introducing them to Barney.

Now seven years old, Barney was a PAWS rescue project. One of four pups found abandoned with their mother, Barney and his brother, Tommy, were identified as potential service dogs. Tommy did just fine and has found a career in Eastern Canada.

READ MORE: PAWS celebrates 20 years of service to Valley

But Barney turned out to be too friendly. After his training under the practiced hand of Diana Miller, he was paired with a veteran, but he wanted to play with every child that crossed his path. Eventually, he was returned to Creston and former PAWS’ president Vicki McDonald suggested to Gertie and Barrie that they might want to take him after they had lost their own beloved dog.

Gertie took a course to become a certified therapy dog owner and began to take Barney for a weekly visit with students at Prince Charles Secondary School, which he continues to this day.

“He’s also become my therapy because he makes me walk him every day!” Gertie said on Friday.

As avid gardeners on their 12th Avenue North half-acre property, the Browns are no stranger to being part of garden tours.

“Barrie and I felt that PAWS puts so much work into our community, and we wanted to find a way to pay the organization back for the pleasure Barney has given us,” she said. “We aren’t part of PAWS, but we certainly are grateful for their work.”

Miller said on Monday that the adoption of dogs is largely successful, but that PAWS would benefit from an increase in its foster home roster.

“Before we built the shelter that’s how PAWS cared for our animals—by placing them in foster homes. But now, since the shelter has been built and become well known, we don’t have many foster homes,” said Miller.

“Some dogs have particular needs, though, and they would do better in care in a family setting, where they would get the additional attention they need.”

Anyone interested in more information about providing foster care for dogs can call PAWS at 250-428-7297.

On Saturday, June 22, The Browns—all three of them—will open their yard to the public from 10 am to 4 pm. Entry is by donation, all of which will go to PAWS. The large back yard is an oasis in the middle of town, with a huge pin oak casting shade over plantings around a pond, a fenced vegetable garden and a great variety of trees and perennials.

PAWS will host a refreshment stand and sell raffle tickets for a beautiful birdhouse. The draw is to take place at 4 pm that day.

Support PAWS with your attendance, and help Gertie and Barrie Brown in thanking the volunteers for their efforts. The garden is located at 505-12th Avenue North.

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