ARLINGTON — Members of the Bark-n-Time 4-H Dog Club of Arlington acknowledged that their first holiday gift-wrapping fundraiser on Dec. 14 met with less success than they would have liked, but they remained optimistic that they’d helped to raise awareness about their club’s activities.
“The kids had a great time and their spirits were high,” said Lisa Cisneros, one of the adult volunteers of the group. “There were only two customers, but they gave us 10 gifts to wrap. Of the 13 kids who participated, four of them stayed all day, just to try and get more people in the door. They handed out flyers, waved, walked into the stores up and down Olympic Avenue, and even enjoyed riding the horse-drawn wagon, twice.”
Cisneros noted that three of the parents likewise remained at the Co-op Supply all day to sell candies, including the club’s leader, Charlotte Knutson.
Although the Bark-n-Time 4-H Dog Club of Arlington already charges a fee of $20 per child, per year, Cisneros explained that the proceeds from such sales help the club pay for the kids’ county dues and fair fees, as well as insurance if it’s required by the facilities that the club is renting from, plus barn rentals that run $25 per week.
In exchange, the kids spend all year practicing obedience and showmanship with their dogs, so that they’ll be ready to be judged for real at the local Silvana and Stanwood/Camano fairs, as well as the county fair in Monroe.
“We’ve even had a few kids go on to the state fair in Puyallup,” Cisneros said. “It isn’t just handed to them. They have to work very hard to earn their spots.”
Cisneros explained that the kids are expected to know their dogs well, down to their breeds, the names of their body parts and which groups they belong in, according to American Kennel Club standards. The dogs themselves are judged based on their stance, grooming, presentation and obedience, the latter of which requires the dogs to maintain a variety of poses for one or more minutes each, as well as to follow the commands of their young masters.
“Our kids are dedicated to their dogs, and are extremely passionate about 4-H and all that it entails,” said Cisneros, who added that the kids also participate in Arlington’s Fourth of July and Santa parades each year. “Arlington is unique, because the next closest 4-H dog clubs are in Monroe and Lynnwood. The one that was available for the kids on Camano Island and Stanwood is no longer a group, and there’s nothing in Marysville or Everett, so we really have the potential to help a lot of kids in the surrounding area.”
Cisneros thanked not only the Co-op Supply for donating the use of its parking lot and building space for several of the club’s fundraisers, but also the Lakewood Costco, the Arlington Walmart and Karl’s Bakery in Everett for contributing to those fundraisers.
“We are so appreciative that the community supports the kids’ success in their endeavors,” Cisneros said. “We hope to draw more kids into the program, and to have continued growth in Arlington.”
The Bark-n-Time 4-H Dog Club of Arlington meets every Monday from 7-8 p.m. For more information, call Knutson at 360-435-3734 or Cisneros at 425-737-2943.