Wheeling is certainly holding its own in the final round of PetSafe's "Bark for Your Park" online voting contest, which will result in one lucky community winning $100,000 to build its very own dog park.
But the Friendly City's consistent appearance near the head of a pack of 15 cities vying for the grand prize isn't cause for happy tail-wagging just yet, supporters of the effort warn.
"I think things are going extremely well from our perspective. ... People just need to keep voting," said Jeremy Morris, who along with fellow dog lover Gregg Boury co-founded a group called "Wheeling Needs a Dog Park!"
Each person can vote twice per day, once at www.petsafe.net and once at PetSafe's Facebook page. At the end of the contest, the $100,000 grand prize winner and three additional $25,000 winners will be announced.
In addition to the reminder to keep voting, Morris said it's important to be aware of a special opportunity to gain bonus votes each Friday. Somewhere on its website, PetSafe will post a question that, if answered correctly, means that person's vote will be counted as seven, not just one.
Morris said once someone from the group finds the question each Friday, they will post a link to the specific page containing the question to the Wheeling Needs a Dog Park! Facebook page to help direct people to it.
"That's a good way for us to catch up and get a lot of votes," Morris said.
Wheeling also hopes to receive some support from its fellow West Virginia city Huntington, which won the grand prize two years ago. Morris said Mayor Andy McKenzie told him Huntington officials plan to spread the word in their community and encourage residents to support Wheeling.
The Intelligencer will publish updated standings in the "Bark for Your Park" competition each Saturday through July 20. Voting ends July 26.