Bark for the Arc was walk in the park

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 137 views 

FORT SMITH — Dogs of all sizes and people of all ages gathered at Ben Geren Park Saturday (May 5) to enjoy the sunshine and spread the word about the Arc for the River Valley.

The organization — one of more than 700 state and local Arc chapters nationwide — provides advocacy, education, and recreation for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Last weekend’s event, Bark for the Arc, entailed a dog walk around the park, followed by a hamburger and hotdog picnic and socializing for all four-legged friends and their walkers/owners under Pavilion No. 3.

The event provided plenty of opportunity for discussion about Arc’s mission. Executive director Patti Logan said the group focuses on “social and good communication skills.” It also works to prevent and treat mental issues like shaken baby syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome.

“Doctors usually don’t know how to provide the patients with information on what to do,” Logan said. “Parents need help and correct information.”

The organization was founded more than 50 years ago by Dr. Roger Bost, a prominent pediatrician, and a group of families interested in creating a better quality of life for those with disabilities. It serves some 400 clients a year.

The Arc for the River Valley has activities at least every other month and a fundraiser every year. It is supported by the United Way of Fort Smith Area, which “has helped us out a lot,” Logan said.

While the dogs took center stage at Bark for the Arc, other activities were available. The Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) handed out stickers, balloons, tattoos and pamphlets with information. BACA reps Bronco, Coyote and Papa Bear were at the finish line giving treats to the dogs and stickers to walkers as they crossed. Coyote picked up a new nickname, “dog treat eater,” as he was tasting some of the dog treats. He just wanted to make sure the dogs got the best after their long walk.

For information about how to become an Arc for the River Valley donor, volunteer or sponsor, go here.