VALPARAISO | Downtown Valparaiso could be going to the dogs this spring.
Kim Gavaller is hoping other business districts within the city will also adopt a hound during the latest benefit for the Porter County Animal Shelter sponsored by Kids Power of Porter County.
Gavaller's daughter, Giana, 9, came up with the idea of the "Hounds About Town" program, she said because of her love of dogs.
The group, which has already raised $2,000 from various fundraising projects for the shelter, is selling 31-inch tall concrete hounds to businesses for $200. Businesses are asked to decorate the dogs and set them in a prominent place inside or outside their business.
The public will then view and vote for their favorite hound. Contest winners and prize drawings from those who cast votes will be held June 1 at Porter County's Biggest Pie Fight, another event sponsored by the group to benefit the shelter.
Those interested in purchasing the dogs for display must order them by March 15 by contacting Gavaller at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (219) 242-7026. Those interested can also visit their website at www.kidspowerportercounty.org or find them on Facebook at Kids Power Porter County.
The statues will be delivered by April 15 and contestants will be given two weeks to decorate the dogs. Then, said Gavaller, people will have the entire month of May to take a look at the dogs. They'll get codes for the dogs and can vote for the best.
Gavaller said they hope to sell 50 dog statues. There will be first, second and third place prices for participating businesses and a cash raffle for those who voted.
Gavaller started Kids Power in April 2012 as a way to allow youngsters to volunteer. They chose the Porter County Animal Shelter as their beneficiary and have held several fund raising events in the last year. Some 40 youngsters participate in the group.