Guest blog by Executive Director of CARE for Animals Ashley Younger
On May 10th, Central Arkansas Rescue Effort for Animals, Inc. (“CARE”) will host Paws on the Runway: Vanity Fur at Next Level Events from 6 to 9 p.m.
By featuring CARE dogs and fashions from B. Barnett, Bark Bar, Beehive, Bella Boutique, Culture Clothing Co., Dillard’s, E. Leigh’s, Go! Running, Greenhaw’s Men’s Wear, Indigo, Kenneth Edwards Fine Jewelers, Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic and Steamroller Blues, this event will make rescue look good!
In this week’s blog, we are excited to introduce two of the event’s stylish, two-legged models, Rachel Harding and Rick Fleetwood.
While Rachel is primarily a stay-at-home mom, she considers herself the team spirit leader for her family’s business, the Parker Automotive Group. She and her husband, Buddy, have been married for eight years, and they have two little boys, Five and Wilder. They are also the proud parents of three canine children, Ellie, Knox and Scout.
Rachel says, “Watching our boys grow up with their puppy siblings has been so much fun!” Scout, her youngest pup, is a rescue and has brought their family so much joy, keeping their two older dogs lively and young at heart. Rachel adds, “Scout has been the perfect addition to our family and has made us true believers in the ‘adopt, don’t shop’ approach to animals. With so many animals out there in need, I am thankful our community has an organization like CARE to help rescue and treat our local animals.”
This is not Rachel’s first time to walk CARE’s runway, and she says that the event is one of her favorites. “Years ago, I participated in this event and walked a CARE dog. After we finished, he was so excited, he tried to jump back up on the runway to strut his stuff again! Watching these sweet dogs get attention and a parade of cheers as they walk the runway is tremendously heartwarming. I am very excited to participate again and continue to support CARE.”
As a young child growing up in Monette, Arkansas, Rick would always pick up lost animals—including dogs, chickens, cats and even goldfish! His job was to take them home, wash them, de-flea them and feed them. An animal lover from the start, Rick is deeply bonded to his pets and still remembers going into mourning after his dog, Boobo, passed away. Rick played the organ for hours to express his sadness because, for Rick, losing a beloved pet is like losing a family member.
Rick appreciates the special bond shared between people and their dogs and says that the six dogs he has had during his lifetime could give lessons in “loyalty, caring, devotion, learning and being sidekicks.” He adds, “dogs just somehow know when there is something wrong or you need a little help. They will cry with you, stand up for you, do whatever you tell them and be fiercely loyal to their master. They ask for nothing but give you all they have.”
Rick now has a puppy named Beau and, despite Rick’s busy schedule, Beau never complains. Rick says he has never seen a dog with as much love to give as Beau. “If you are not careful, he will give you 500 kisses before you ever know what hit you! I love him greatly. I do not know what I would do without him.”
CARE applauds Rick for his recognition that, if people would act more like their dogs, “the world would be a better place,” and we are proud to have him in our runway show!