Local teen Sarah Parshley adores dogs.
Three years ago, she founded the Nutts 4 Mutts 4-H Club to share her passion with other kids.
Sarah, 18, decided to found the club after being involved with another dog club at Frying Pan Farm Park. The distance from her home in Kingstowne and the club posed a bit of a challenge, so Sarah decided to take charge and start a dog club in the Mount Vernon area.
“The number 1 challenge was finding people who were dedicated to join,” Sarah said. “The second biggest challenge was finding a place that allowed kids and dogs.”
The club initially met at PetSmart in Springfield, but found a new home at the Hollin Hall Senior Center.
The club focuses on all things relating to dogs, from care to training to safety. Training meetings where members can bring in their dogs and practice their training skills are held sporadically. A guest trainer once visited to help prepare the club for the county’s 4-H fair.
“We’ve shifted our focus to learn about dogs, and then train dogs,” Sarah said.
Nutts 4 Mutts also hosts field trips to dog parks and guest speakers, and members can participate in community service projects. The club hosted a dog toy drive during last year’s Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and collected hundreds of dog toys that were donated to local shelters.
The Nutts 4 Mutts 4-H Club is now in its third year, and Sarah hopes to attract more members of the club so it can continue when she leaves for college in the fall. The group is open to kids ages 9 to 19, and leadership positions are available for interested teens.
In her spare time, Sarah enjoys playing the clarinet, reading sci-fi books, watching movies, and of course, spending time with her dog, Rocko. She hopes to attend either Virginia Tech or Liberty University in the fall and is interested in biomedical engineering.
The Nutts 4 Mutts Meet and Greet is scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Hollin Hall Senior Center. Monthly meetings take place at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Hollin Hall Senior Center. Those interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org and put Nutts4Mutts in the subject line.