Dog Lovers Rally For a Pooch Park

Michelle Marinacci wants her dogs, Cassie and Tripp, to have a place to play, so she is doing her part to see that Wheeling wins at least $25,000 to build a park for them.

Marinacci joined numerous other canine-lovers Friday outside WesBanco Arena for the Bark for Your Park Rally, which was part of the ongoing effort to secure funding for a park.

“We need people to vote for us. When you look at up-and-coming cities, they have dog parks. This is what Wheeling needs,” she said.

Events included a dog walk, music and food vendors. Owners and their pooches marched from the waterfront north on Heritage Trail to the steps at Uncle Pete’s and back.

Nominated by a member of the Wheeling Dog Park Association, the city has advanced from nearly 1,000 communities across the nation to become one of 15 finalists in PetSafe’s “Bark for Your Park” online voting contest.

The city with the most votes will receive $100,000 to build a PetSafe dog park. Three runners-up and the city with the highest percentage of votes relative to its population each will receive $25,000. Voting runs through July 26, while winners will be announced July 31.

Jeremy Morris, one of the leaders of the effort to get a dog park built in Wheeling, said he is “confident” the city will get at least $25,000.

“Right now, we are looking to build it at the end of the (Wheeling Heritage Trail) in Elm Grove,” Morris said. “There are other options, but that is what we would like.”

Nominated cities can earn up to two votes each day per voter, one at and one on the PetSafe Facebook page. On Fridays, each voter can earn an additional seven votes by participating in the “7 Vote Sniff Out” by locating the page of the day on PetSafe’s website and answering the corresponding question.

For more information about the contest, how to vote, clues to the “7 Vote Sniff Out” and upcoming events, visit