By Marianne Mueller


Hundreds of dogs along with their owners came out for a day of pure fun all for a good cause on Saturday, Sept. 10. Settlers park was rocking as Mellany’s Fourth Annual Dog Walk presented “Dogs at the Disco.”

Happily going along with this year’s theme dogs were dressed to impress in shades of ’70’s era clothing, hats and even jewels.

Steve Shannon of 97ZOK kept action rolling by serving as the event announcer.

Everyone set out on a one mile walk in the Village of Rockton before returning for loads of fun action!

“Squirrel crossing, Oh K-9 you’re so fine, Let’s do the time warp again, That really drives you insane, But it’s the pelvis thrust, You bring your knees in tight, with your hands on your hips. It’s just a jump to the left and a step to the right” signs added to the events aura.

At the park volunteers handed out water, and treats for pets and humans. Each owner received a special coupon from Brent Murray of the Dairyhaus to be used for one puppy cone.

Steph Mackey of Hair of the Dog Grooming was on site giving nail trims in exchange for a donation to the cause. Raffle baskets were donated by local businesses or given by an induvial. People took chances and lucky winners received wonderful goods.

Extra fun came in the form of a dog-owner look-alike contest, a costume contest and a dance contest. The look-alike contest was based on the closest resemblance a dog has to its human. Mrs. Beazly and her owner who won a gift certificate to Sugar Jones. Mini Wheat took honors at the costume contest. During the dance off dogs and humans moved to the beat of really cool music. Winners of the costume and dance contests went home with very nice prize baskets full of treats and goodies.

The Rockton Lions Club Leos volunteered in a variety of ways.

The Rock River Valley Blood Center took part in the day by hosting a blood drive.

Mellany’s dog walk was held in memory of Mellany Vick McDuffa. McDuffa grew up in Rockton and attended Hononegah High School. She was employed at Health System in the lab for 25 years. Mellany passed away on Sept. 25, 2012 after fighting a 6 year battle with ovarian cancer.

When she was nearing the end of her life her nurse Mary Ann arranged to have Mellany’s Westie Jack come to visit her. After witnessing the difference that made in such a critical time Mellany’s family established the Loving Tails Pet Therapy program at Rockford Memorial Hospital. The program which was launched on Valentine’s Day in 2013 allows patients an extra measure of comfort and happiness as patients have received visits from therapy dogs. Anyone with a good canine candidate may contact Mercy Health Rockford to enroll their dog in the pet therapy program may call (815) 971-6284 for qualifications and to obtain more information.

Three previous dog walks have opened doors of expansion in the Loving Tails Pet Therapy program. All of the proceeds from this year’s event will be used to further missions of the Pet Therapy program at Mercy Health Rockford and the Pet Peace of Mind program at Mercy Hospice Care. Pet Peace of Mind is a national program that enables families to keep their pets at home throughout their end of life journey while in Hospice care.

“We came out today to help two fabulous causes,” said walker Kathy Luety whose family brought three dogs to the walk. The Luety’s dogs Izzy and ZuZu both serve as therapy dogs.

Behind the scenes Mellany’s sister Millicent Christopher has been the event organizer all four years. “We had an excellent turnout despite the morning rain. I hope everyone enjoyed the day and I am so grateful for all of the volunteers, my co-organizer Jim Hart, our donors, and attendees! This year’s walk was our best yet that is until next year’s event on Sept.9. Our theme will be “Hounds at the Honky Tonk,” says Christopher.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.