Three years ago after losing her beloved Maltese, Mindy, Heeja O’Leary decided rather than focus on the sadness of her loss she would build a memorial to honor Mindy’s life.
Her plan was to build a dog run at PAWS Humane Center on South Street in Calais, ME. That was nearly two years ago. O’Leary raised more than $5,000, and construction began last summer.
Not only did the O’Learys raise money they also did much of the work themselves. Although Greg O’Leary did receive help he’s a bit modest when it comes to admitting how much of the work he did himself.
However, anyone who watched the project day-by-day often saw O’Leary by himself. For months, armed with a chain saw, O’Leary leveled trees in a wooded area behind the shelter. Rather than strip the land, O’Leary decided to use as much of the natural area as possible, so he laid out an octagonal section.
Last Friday the O’Learys got a tour of the now completed dog run, which covers over 1,600 square feet.
In the past, the shelter had only a small fenced-in yard with one tree. Most of the time the dogs rooted around outside in the sun. Now they can romp under the trees, sniff at the roots and occasionally lift a leg.A dog named Yeller jumped up and gave Heeja O’Leary a big kiss on the chin. Heeja O’Leary smiled as she watched the dogs run.
Since the O’ Learys did so much of the work on the dog run they were able to save money on the project. Last year they donated $1000 to the PAWS shelter to help with the operation.