News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Wendy N. McDougal

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Madison, left, and Georgia Peterson are ready for Saturday's Walk Your Paws with dogs Mary Anne and Camille. The dogs, both of which were strays, were adopted with the assistance of Animal Friends Humane Society.

Walk Your Paws is Saturday at Wilson Morgan Park

Halloween — is there really any harm? Some of my favorite times growing up were Halloween nights. I remember my Snoopy costume, and, as I grew older, seeing who all would stop by for some trick-or-treating.

Today, it seems fewer and fewer people celebrate the holiday for fear that something dark and evil is being honored. In my eyes, it's never been about ghosts, goblins or anything questionable, for that matter. It's simply a night of fun with family and friends, and of course, delicious goodies.

Tuesday night, my children will transform into a bluebird and a pirate (Capt. Jack Sparrow to be exact). We aren't bowing to the pumpkins or worshipping the witch. We're just going to enjoy a great, safe night together, making homemade pizza and collecting some candy.

In the spirit of good, safe fun I hope you'll do the same. It can be a memorable night if you make it your own. Have a "hauntingly" happy Halloween.

Now let's see what the "chatter" is for today . . .

Walk Your Paws

Saturday will be an exciting day for the Animal Friends Humane Society as the seventh annual "Walk Your Paws" gets under way at Wilson Morgan Park. In conjunction with Decatur Alabama Kennel Club, Decatur Parks and Recreation and Decatur Animal Services, activities for the family will continue throughout the day from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Celebrities on hand will include Lucky, the dog rescued by city sanitation employee Joe Baldwin. Following a pit bull attack, Dr. Steven Osborne dedicated himself to bringing Lucky back to good health. Lucky, Osborne, Baldwin and Decatur City Councilman Ronny Russell will be at the park to kick-off the fun-filled day.

Some highlights of the event will be the Parade of Breeds (dogs only please) at noon, followed by the doggie costume contest at 12:30, both on the entertainment stage. You will see dogs and owners walking throughout the day on the Wilson Morgan Lake Path. Proceeds from the walk will assist unwanted and abused animals. With $50 or more donated, participants will receive a free Walk Your Paws T-shirt. All registered dogs will receive a bandana and bag of goodies.

Three easy ways to register are available. You may mail your registration, along with a $10 fee per dog ($25 for 3 dog limit), to Walk Your Paws, Animal Friends Humane Society, P.O. Box 2345, Decatur, AL 35602; drop the registration and fee off at the Animal Friends office, 240 Johnston St. S.E., Suite 240-B, in Decatur; or turn in at the registration table the day of the event. You also can make a $10 per family donation.

Chet Ellis will demonstrate with Jakes' Jake, a sheepherding dog and the grandson of the Supreme International Champion from Wales. Dawn Monroe and her champion border collies will amaze the audience with agility training, while Joseph Cannon and his dog, a rescue, will entertain with fun-loving Frisbee-catching antics.

Other activities on the stage will be kennel club demonstrations, story and craft time for children, a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Decatur Animal Shelter, dog/owner look-alike contest and a North Alabama Search and Rescue Demonstration. Other events going on will include Christmas photos with your dog, doggie kissing booth, dog washing and grooming and watering hole.

Dr. Charles Ashwander, Dr. Brian Story and Dr. Jan Strother will administer micro-chips — small implants that help missing pets return to their owners. Bridget Troup will offer jeweled pet collars and local artist Lee Nabors will offer pet portraits.

Snacks and vendor booths will also be available for your enjoyment, as well as a Rainbow Bridge memorial dedicated in loving memory to pets that are no longer with us.

The Animal Friends Humane Society's mission is to improve the quality of life for the animals in our community. Animal Friends provides a community outreach program which helps individuals in our community with spay/neuter, vet care, foster care and adoption of pets. Walk Your Paws is a combined effort to raise funds to make AFHS community outreach program possible. For more information, please contact AFHS at 351-2347 or www.walk

Definitely a great day of family fun and one your dog will love, too. See you Saturday.


Morgan County Chapter 234 of AARP met recently with Norma Jean Melder presiding. Char Higgins, Mary Clark and Helen Barnes were hostesses. Visitors Bill Hawkins and Bill Holton were recognized. Melder's devotional was followed by the pledge led by Wayne Wagnon.

New member Carl Joy was introduced followed by the introduction of Darrell Routon from the Huntsville AARP Chapter. He presented Ben Sublett, volunteer for Americans for Fair Tax. He further explained his organization,, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to replacing the current tax system.

Associate State Director Hawkins spoke on the need of raising the image of the AARP organization. With the overall mission of helping people, the group also educates the public on issues related to financial security, warns that seniors are targets for fraud, and focuses on seniors in the work force and long-term care.

Ray Holton, AARP volunteer team leader for Morgan County, announced a new program, "We need to talk," that focuses on how adult children can talk with parents about changes in
driving habits.

Geraldine Busby won the door prize, and Higgins and Ann Thomas won a drawing from Hawkins.

Hostesses for the next meeting will be Don Thomas and wife Ann. Carol Wallace will speak on elder law.

Country Cousins

New club members Raney and Charles Vice, along with their aunt Ettie Bell Brown, hosted the recent meeting of the Country Cousins. Twenty-five members and guests attended, including Vice's daughter Jennifer Vice and her son Austin Cullars.

Hattie Mae Hardin and Katie Sue Hardin, friends of the Vice's, were also welcomed to the meeting. Several others were remembered during the blessing and prayer time, Ottie Lou Self and the late Zadie Quattlebaum.

Cousins attending were Donna Weeks, Johnnie McElroy, Lucille Roddam, Vera Horsley, Inez Borden, Evalene Orr, Janice Vinson, Zettie Atkinson, Hazel Brown, Donnie Brown, Jean Dooley, Wilma Boger, Johnny Self, Mel and Eloise Bryant, Jimmie Quattlebaum, Diane Caudle and Dot Maples.

That's all for now. It's been great "chattin' " with ya.

Let me know what is going on in your little corner of the world. If it's special to you and features any of the great people who live in our community, then it will make a great Chatterbox item. E-mail me at or call me at 350-5730.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Wendy N. McDougal Wendy N. McDougal
DAILY Staff Writer

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