THEIR MOTTO IS "The key to the Universe is Kindness." That's because the local nonprofit organization Dog Ears and Paws Inc. exists solely because of the kindness of many people, through donations and volunteer work.
Debbie Winkler started the organization about 13 years ago with the help of her friend Lee Rudolph.
"I had been searching for years for a way to put my love of animals and people together," Winkler said.
Dog Ears and Paws trains dogs to become assistance or therapy dogs for people with disabilities. Many of the dogs are rescued from shelters and spend two to three years in motivational training.
The dogs are then placed with people who have disabilities, including blindness, deafness, seizures, physical disabilities, cystic fibrosis and autism.
Many professionals, including veterinarians, attorneys, psychologists and others, donate their time and expertise to the organization.
Paulette Ringley of Your Companions Country Store in Eldersburg, a feed and supply store, is a member of the organization's board. She donates the use of her store's outdoor training arena, an indoor training arena and office space.
Ringley also bought and renovated a mobile trailer that she donated to the organization. The trailer goes to locations in the community to inform the public of the work done by Dog Ears and Paws.
The cost of training ranges from $10,000 to $15,000 per dog, Ringley said. Once the dog is placed, training continues, with monitoring by Dog Ears and Paws.
About 15 to 20 people are waiting for a dog at any given time, she said.
Dog training classes are also offered at Your Companions Country Store to benefit Dog Ears and Paws. Classes teach the training techniques used to train the assistance and therapy dogs.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a dog or making a donation to Dog Ears and Paws should call Debbie Winkler at 410-655-2858.
Piney Run Park activities
Piney Run Park is offering many outdoor activities this summer. On tap this week:
Timberdoodle Puppet Theater, a puppet show with a nature theme. An activity follows the show, held at 11 a.m. Friday. Fee: $2 per child.
Mother Nature Sunset Pontoon. Families can watch the sunset from the pontoon with Miss Lynette. Time: 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. tomorrow. Fee: $2 per member and $4 per nonmember.
Disney Storytime on the Lake is held from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. The theme is "The Lion King." Cruise to the story spot while listening to music from the Disney film. Participants should bring movie memorabilia to share. Fee: $1.50 adults, $1 children and senior citizens.
Native American Pontoon, noon to 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Learn how local Native Americans lived as you travel around the lake. A short hike around Indian Trail is included. Fee: $2 adults, $1 children and senior citizens.
Concerts in the Park
Sykesville Gate House Museum of History sponsors Concerts in the Park 2000 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays at Millard Cooper Park. The concerts continue through August.
On Friday, Stringband America, along with Nicole Cooley and David Ashman, will perform. Refreshments are available.
Information: Jim Purman at 410-549-5150.
I am the new Southeast neighborhood columnist.
My name is Debra Taylor Young. My husband is Joe Young, who runs a pattern and tooling shop in Baltimore.
We live in Sykesville. My children, David Silverstein, 15, is a junior at Liberty High School, and my daughter, Stephanie Silverstein, 12, is a seventh-grader at Sykesville Middle School. David plays drums in the school band and Stephanie plays cello.
My stepson Adam Young, 14, is a sophomore at South Carroll High School and is interested in outdoor sports. My other stepson, Mark, 13, is an eighth-grader at Sykesville Middle School. He's interested in computers and computer graphics.
I have lived in the Sykesville area since 1983.
I look forward to hearing from all of you. Please call me at 410-549-5275 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org