Paw-ty time! Mary’s Paws Park celebration held to support local animal shelters

Published 7:16 am Wednesday, June 14, 2023

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The Town of Kill Devil Hills held a free celebration on June 2 at the town’s dog park, Mary’s Paws Park, to support local animal shelters and share some love (and goodies) with canines and their owners alike.

Mary’s Paws Park opened on June 25, 2019 and has become the spot for local dog owners to hang out with their pups year-round. The park was developed by the late Mary Quidley, long-time town clerk for KDH, whose birthday was June 4. “We try to coordinate it [the celebration] with her birthday,” said Jennifer Stecher, who alongside Parker Midgett worked to coordinate the event. Both Stecher and Midgett work in the town’s administrative office.

Charlene Allen, assistant town manager for KDH, said residents “love the park.” “There’s several different areas, lots of space … and lots of shade!”

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Tatum Winston, a KDH resident who brings her dog Mittens to the park several times a week, said she brought Mittens to Mary’s Paws Park the first day it opened. “We come a lot,” she shared, “We walk here sometimes, too.”

Winston said Mittens has made a lot of pup friends at the park, including a one-year-old hound named Thor, owned by Mike Bell. Bell said he and Thor make a trip to the park every morning. “He likes to run. In the morning he’s all wound up, so I bring him here.”

Rob and Robin Plemmons, along with Denise Stadther, are also regulars. Their dogs, Bonnie and Gemma, hang out at the dog park every day. Five-year-old mutt Bonnie, owned by the Plemmonses, enjoys playing with Gemma, a four-year-old greyhound owned by Stadther. “Bonnie has to start her day wandering around … after she’s chased squirrels and moles, she likes to run,” Rob said.

At the celebration, donations were accepted for local animal shelters, and one booth featured photos of adoptable dogs at the Currituck County Animal Shelter. Freebies such as dog toys, bag dispensers and pup cups were available for dog owners and their canine friends who stopped by. Representatives with The Holistic Pet Shop gave away goodie bags filled with treats for furry friends, and a paw painting station was available for attendees. Mary’s Paws Park T-shirts were available for sale alongside bird houses and the town cookbook. For those lacking a wagging tail, free ice cream was at hand.