Barktoberfest raises money for underserved communities

Director of Operations Lori Hensley sets up her station as the community starts to come in. (Staff photo by Wade McCreary)

Durham Parks and Recreation and Beyond Fences teamed up to provide an entertaining afternoon for dog lovers as well as a way for the organization to give back to the community. The 4th Barktoberfest was held Oct. 27 in Durham Central Park.

Client of Beyond Fences Corolyn Hoke appreciates everything the organization has done for her. (Staff photo by Wade McCreary)

The overcast chilly day didn’t stop people from coming out with their dogs. Within the first hour, more than 30 had arrived. Although many participants said that they came to give their dogs a chance to socialize, the event featured specific activities such as a pet costume contest and athletic events.According to Beyond Fences, many neighborhoods in Durham lack access to basic pet care supplies. Beyond Fences is a non-profit organization that focuses on the well-being of struggling families that have pets.

Beyond Fences recognizes the love people have for their pets and they have the understanding that a pet is just a family member. The goal of the organization is to reach out to the community and build a sincere relationship with the families and their pets.

The founder of Beyond Fences, Amanda Arrington, is ecstatic about the festival’s turnout. (Staff photo by Wade McCreary)

Founder Amanda Arrington explained, “I founded the organization, and we started it in 2006. The reason we started the organization is because there wasn’t one in Durham doing this type of work that we do, but there was a great need for it. There are so many people in Durham who are faced with challenges of poverty and have pets and love their pets but don’t have resources, we fill that gap.”

Financial instability is a big reason why many families lack the resources to care for their animals.  Beyond Fences believes that the lack of financial means does not equate to the lack of love for a pet.

“We help people living mostly in East Durham access pet care resources for their pets because in that area of Durham there is a pet care desert,” said director of operations Lori Hensley. “There are not veterinarians, there are not affordable pet stores, no groomers, and a lot of people who live in East Durham do not have transportation, so if their dogs get sick, they can’t get across town.”

Client of Beyond Fences Tonnie Markam recommends the organizations to everyone in the community. (Staff photo by Wade McCreary)

Beyond Fences is an organization that lends a helping hand when struggling families do not have the means to do so.

“We provide free veterinarian care and that includes: spay and neuter, exams, rabies vaccines if the dogs are sick and we provide free transportation to and from the veterinarian,” said Hensley. “We also build fences for the dogs if they are chained up.”

Lezley Two Bears getting ready to judge the dog contest. . (Staff photo by Wade McCreary)

Hensley says that East Durham has experienced a dramatic increase in  gentrification and that a lot of their clients are losing their homes,  and to keep their families together — including their beloved pets — Beyond Fences helps pay pet fees to landlords. Additionally, Beyond Fences also helps pet owners find places that will help accept pets, and they also help per owners with hotels fees while the families are looking for a pet-friendly place to live. Plus, if their pets end up in the shelter and the family goes to reclaim it, Beyond Fences will pay the fees.

“I don’t know what I would do without Beyond Fences,” said Carolyn Hoke, a client of Beyond Fences . “Anything my dogs need from veterinarian to grooming and they even bring hay and put it out in the winter time. I just appreciate everything they have ever done for me.”

Marketing Volunteer Brinda Ramaiya is excited to see the dog events. (Staff photo by Wade McCreary)

This organization has changed the lives of so many because they are willing to be a shining light in the time of darkness when no one else is there to provide relief when they needed it the most.

Tonnie Markham, another client of Beyond Fences, says she has been with them since the beginning because they helped her with her dog when she couldn’t afford to buy anything.

Marketing Volunteer Brinda Ramaiya says that she appreciates the benefits that Beyond Fences has afforded the community.

“I have been volunteering marketing for Beyond Fences for three years,” she said, ” I love the animals and the mission of celebrating people and their relationship with their pets — and it all about the community.”