Dogs barked and howled around Westhampton Lake Sunday afternoon, in a fundraiser for a nonprofit that helps abandoned or abused animals.

Bandit's Adoption and Rescue of K-9's (BARK) is a Richmond-based organization, that works to rescue dogs from animal shelters that would have been euthanized. BARK spays or neuters the rescued pets, and then tries to find homes for them. The organization was founded in 2001, and students at the University of Richmond have formed a club to support its efforts.

Rebecca Stansbury, a sophomore and the club's president, said that BARK had rescued about 700 to 1,000 dogs a year. "What our club is doing, we volunteer there three days a week, and we're holding fundraiser today to raise money for [BARK]," Stansbury said. "We've been doing really well today, which is awesome.

"We had lot of dogs come by dressed up. It's a lot of fun."

Some owners had decorated their dogs in Halloween-themed costumes, or with other accessories. A small Yorkshire terrier was adorned in a bumblebee costume, replete with a hood and white stinger near the dog's tail. A young chocolate Labrador retriever had a printed red bandana tied around its neck.

About 60 students had dropped by on the fundraiser, and about 15 to 20 dogs had come, Stansbury said.

Sophomores Patrick Walsh and Andrew Lee had been petting dogs the dogs longer than they had intended. "I did not mean to stop," Walsh said, "and I've been here for like 30 minutes." Walsh, who said he wanted a dog of his own, was coming from the dining hall when he had run into the BARK fundraiser.

"I've been helping out with the cause," Lee said, who was petting Pomeranian. "You know, we're just asking people to donate money for BARK. It's very chill and friendly."

The number of students in BARK varies as people come and go with their interest, Stansbury said. "I would say we have 20 students that are consistently coming," she said. She encouraged any students who were interested to volunteer because BARK is new on campus.

Nuria Noceda is a senior who adopted her Pomeranian, Mack, in February. Noceda said her roommate was in Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, and she started going to BARK every week. They had fostered a couple of dogs, she said, which was like caring for a pet although it wasn't your own.

"I decided to get my own dog," she said. "So we went to the adoption stand, then we took Mack home and the process took about a week."

Mack is seven years old, Noceda said, and he had only spent a couple of weeks at the animal shelter before she rescued him.

Contact staff writer Keon Monroe at keon.monroe@richmond.edu.

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