- May 31, 2019
It started with one dog.
Her name was Sophie, a husky quarantined at the Southeast Volusia Humane Society and slated to be euthanized the following day. Kathy Blackman walked in to the shelter determined to provide them with healthy pet food, and walked out with Sophie. In 2008, aware of the dire situation faced by many animals, she founded the Sophie’s Circle dog rescue.
Stepdaughter Madeline Tyser remembers when she was a senior in high school and the nonprofit was just getting started. Blackman was running the business out of her house with a couple of volunteers. Tyser would model her t-shirts.
“It’s so cool to see how it’s grown,” she said. “It’s a known name in the community. Everyone knows what Sophie’s Circle is and what is does. It’s really special.”
The annual Rainbow Bridge Walk is one of many events held to support the nonprofit organization in their efforts to help homeless and abused animals. Vendors, volunteers and musicians all participate knowing that their efforts and proceeds go entirely to the rescue.
“It’s so cool to see how it’s grown. It’s a known name in the community. Everyone knows what Sophie’s Circle is and what is does. It’s really special.”
A total of 25 vendors and approximately 300 supporters attended the seventh-annual event. Blackman said this had been the most successful yet with 10 sponsors and $9,500 raised.
“The feedback has been great,” Blackman said.
Professional photographer Lisa Waldman set up a cloud-like backdrop at the event and invited attendees to get their portraits taken with their pets. She did not start rescuing until she got involved with Sophie's Circle, and now has two dogs from the nonprofit.
“I do a lot of the photos for their website because they are foster-based and don’t have a shelter to go to,” she said. “I love it. It’s for a good cause.”
Harry Cepura was manning his neighbor Nancy Keck’s Seaside Wraps booth while she sang and played guitar with the band, Tie-Dye Road. He was there to participate in the Granada bridge walk to honor his deceased dogs.
“My wife and I are walking with our sheltie Murphy,” said Cepura, teary-eyed. “We are walking for Alfie and Molly, our two shelties we lost last year. They were 16 years old.”