Great Danes make great fundraisers for Salvation Army

Dec. 14, 2012 @ 05:59 PM

No, those two Great Danes patrolling one of the Salvation Army’s red kettles last weekend were not exactly enforcers, but they did a good job of raising money nonetheless.
“Have you ever noticed people walking right by the kettle without stopping?” asked Neeley Walker. “Well, we were out there for two hours, and I only noticed two people being able to do that. Everybody else stopped, and they were putting money in the kettle.”
Walker and her husband, Dennis, brought along their Great Danes last Saturday when they rang the bell at Walgreen’s on N. Main Street. One of the dogs even donned the iconic red Salvation Army apron.
On Saturday, between 2 and 4 p.m., the Walkers and their dogs — 3-year-old Honey and 8-month-old McPherson — will be at Hobby Lobby on Eastchester Drive.
“I just had this idea that maybe if we took the dogs with us, they would be like dog magnets and attract more people, and they sure did,” she said. “I had to remind everybody that God spelled backward is dog, so that was my reasoning — they were little ministers for him.”
Whatever the reasoning, the gigantic dogs — each weighs about 125 pounds — were a big hit. Not only did Walgreen’s shoppers stop and put money in the kettle, but there was even one couple driving by that spotted the dogs and pulled into the parking lot to see them — and yes, they put money in the kettle, too.
“So many people asked, ‘Can we take their picture?’ And I said, ‘There’s the kettle right there, and then you can take all the pictures you want,’” Walker said with a chuckle. “I wanted them to put something in the kettle first.”
Maj. Jim Rickard, commanding officer of the Salvation Army of High Point, called the dogs at the kettle “by far the most unique thing I have seen at a kettle in all my career.”
The Walkers, who signed up for bell-ringing duty through their Sunday school class at Emerywood Baptist Church, said they will make it an annual tradition.
“It’s been the best part of my holiday so far,” Neeley Walker said.
jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579

Want to help?

The Salvation Army of High Point still needs volunteers to ring the bell for its Red Kettle Campaign during the holiday season.
To volunteer, or for more information, contact Brittany Burton at 881-5455.