FITCHBURG — An 11-month-old adorable Boston Terrier named Rafi was recently given the title of the top dog in the city and an elementary school student was honored as the winner of the sixth annual Dog License Awareness Poster Contest.
Rafi’s humans Jared Graves and his husband Andres Hoyos-Cespedes bid on and won the first dog license of the year at the annual Puppy Love Auction in February. All proceeds from the event benefit Friends of Fitchburg DOGS, Inc., the nonprofit organization that along with the city works to maintain the spacious dog park at Coolidge Park that opened in August 2018.
Upwards of $1,500 was raised through this year’s auction and a total of $9,000 since its inception in 2017. Funds are used to maintain the dog park including paying for all the poop bags, trash bags, pooper scoopers and everything else needed to keep it a nice place where dogs can run free.
Previous number one tagged dogs include Zelda in 2017, Bartley in 2018, Cash in 2019, and now Rafi.
“We’re excited for Rafi to have been selected as Fitchburg’s #1 dog of the year,” Graves proudly said. “As residents of the city for the past two years we were eager to welcome a dog into our family soon after moving here. Rafi is turning one year old this month and he’s already established himself as a sweet and playful little brother to our two cats, Fabiola and Lupita. We love to explore the local parks and forests together and of course visit with our pup-friends at the city dog park.”
In other canine news
Be PAWSitive Therapy Pets and the Fitchburg Police Department gave out certificates and goody bags to the winners of the sixth annual Dog License Awareness Poster Contest at the April 3 School Committee meeting.
Crocker Elementary School fifth grader Wren Wibbin Winter was awarded first place for her colorful and creative representation of several happy dogs that reminds people to ‘Love Your Dog License Your Dog.’
According to a press release Police Chief Ernie Martineau was among the contest judges and he explained that he thought Wren’s winning drawing with many different types of dogs “reflected the diversity of Fitchburg, which is a really important part of the city that we all love.”
Wren’s drawing was made into a poster that will be shared in the community to remind pet owners to get their dog licensed. She, along with the other student winners — Angel Guzman, Janayhia Guzman, Thiago Huertas Reyes, and Jorge West — received trophies and recognition from Be PAWSitive and the police department at the April 4 City Council meeting.
Be PAWSitive Director and a longtime City Councilor Sally Cragin organizes the contest, which is open to all city school children in first through fifth grade.
“This was a record-breaking year, more than 700 drawings were submitted, and we thank Mrs. Morrison, art teacher at Crocker Elementary School, for making this contest an all-school activity,” Cragin shared in the release.
The annual community event is sponsored by the Fitchburg Police Department, Fitchburg City Clerk’s Office, Be PAWSitive Therapy Pets and Community Education and Friends of Fitchburg DOGS, Inc.