Welcome to my Blog…established to promote the legacy of Will Judy’s enduring National Dog Week Movement and the intelligent exchange about the state of the dog in the states of the nation.  To learn more, please see ABOUT.

While we here are digging out from yet another snow storm, let’s turn our thoughts to “warmer” times ahead…Watch for posts about Ada Nieves’ Doggy Fashion Event, http://pre-westminsterfashionshow.com/ to be held on February 11th,  and Erika Friedman’s puptials and party, a Valentine’s Wedding Event (http://www.caninecelebration.com) on February 12, when love will ocCUR or course….

If dogs are not there, it is not heaven.  Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, American, b.1931

Last March, while spending time down in Big Pine Key, Florida, I had the pleasure of meeting some dedicated dog-loving residents who were hard at work to achieve their dream of constructing an off-leash park for the dogs of the Lower Keys. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong.  These types of projects take persistence, patience, and permits to see them through.

At one of the fundraising events held for the BPBP project, I met its co-founders, Michele Adams, Sandy Tuttle and Amy Bressem, three friends who joined forces to make life for local dogs, and their humans better. Sadly, in November, I received the news that Amy had passed, never to see her dream realized.

To read my original post about the details of the planning of the Bark Park, you can go in the Archives of March 24, 2010. Because so many searches about Amy and the BPBP bring readers to this site, I asked Michele if she would like to give everyone an update on the progress of the park and in doing so, pay tribute to her good friend, Amy, and to inspire others to pursue the goals that are closest to their hearts, especially when they benefit so many.

Amy and Blue at Big Pine Bark Park Fundraising Event

 How is the Bark Park progressing? We have raised enough funds to begin the building of the park to install fencing, water line and signage.  We are patiently waiting for Monroe County to issue the permits so we may order the fence.  BPAA – Big Pine Athletic Association owns the land but Monroe County leases it so they had to have their attorneys make some changes in the verbiage of the property to allow dogs off leash and change the use of the land to be a dog park.  Any day now! (hopefully). 

When is the park expected to open? I can’t really estimate any longer…in October I thought we would have had this done by the end of the year.  At this point it is out of our hands and we are waiting – but putting pressure on those that can assist on a weekly basis.   Once we have the permit it will take 3 weeks for the fencing materials to come in.  During this time we need to install the water line and tear down existing fence that will not be utilized.

How did your fund-raiser at the Parrotdise Bar and Grille held in December go? Great!  It put us just over our 2010 goals; we raised $5,800 and have $22k in the bank itching to buy a fence!

What is the last hurdle for the Park?  PERMITS! 

Can you talk a little about Amy? Miss Amy — I met her about 4 years ago through another mutual friend. I was tired of having to drive to Key West to the dog park and asked my two friends if they would help me get one on Big Pine Key, so our dog park journey began in the Winter of 2008.  She was integral to our media outlets and handled all of our advertising pieces.  She was never one to miss fun!  If there was something going on she liked to be there.   

 We wish Michele and her fellow volunteers success in the coming year.  Michele has asked me to post the following:

Amy Jennifer Bressem   1976 – 2010

Amy Jennifer Bressem, 34, died Sunday, Nov. 21, in Key West, Fla.

Born May 30, 1976, to Joyce and the late Jon Bressem. She was raised in Feeding Hills, Mass., and graduated from Agawam High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Brevard College, N.C. and later moved to Big Pine Key, Fla., where she worked as a graphic artist for the News Barometer and the Keynoter. She also freelanced photography.

Amy died surrounded by family and friends she leaves to cherish her memory her loving companion Dustin Harrison, brother Andrew and sister-in-law Veronica Bressem; sister Kimberly Bressem and significant other Will Cluster; cats Fabio, Trixie, Dixie; dog Blue; several aunts, uncles and cousins; and many friends throughout the country.

She had a passion for the sea and the sun, art and photography, playing softball and bocce, hiking, gardening, good music and good friends. Amy’s smile and laugh lit up the room wherever she went. She’ll be missed by everyone who knew and loved her.

Donations can be made to the Big Pine Bark Park in her memory, one of the last projects she worked tirelessly toward. Make checks payable to BPAA; mail to 181 Key Deer Blvd., Big Pine Key, FL 33043