BARRK to End Domestic Violence

Walk, Run, or WOOF to raise funds for ending domestic violence!

When I met Jenny Dwyer earlier this year, I knew she was the kind of pet-oriented professional I wanted to align with. Her company Mutt Nose Best is located at 30 Bomarc Road in Bangor.

Its mission is to provide environmentally-friendly chemical-free dog grooming products. The shampoos and balms Mutt Nose Best crafts in its Bangor facility are in over 700 locations nationwide. Now, you can find them overseas.

With all that success, you might think that the company focused on the products and its business plan. But that’s not so. On Saturday, September 28, Mutt Nose Best will host its first event, “BARRK… to End the Silence, a 5K Walk, Run, or WOOF – a dog-friendly dash to end domestic violence.”

The event will happen on the Bangor Waterfront from 8:30 a.m.-Noon. This cause is one near and dear to Dwyer, who is a survivor of an abusive relationship. While she doesn’t have children, she has dogs. The day she decided to leave, she made sure she took her two dogs, Cooper and Kiwi, with her.

She’s not alone. In Maine in 2012, police recorded 5,593 domestic assaults, up from 5,353 in 2011. According to The Animal Welfare Society, animals are abused in over 88% of homes where people are abused.

“I felt I couldn’t leave when I should have because I didn’t have a place I could go with my dogs,” Dwyer said. “Leaving them wasn’t an option. It wasn’t because I thought he’d hurt them. It was because I couldn’t leave without them. They were my kids.”

According to the Maine chapter of the Humane Society of the United States, studies show that 48% of battered women delay leaving a dangerous situation due to fear for their pets’ safety. That barrier includes the lack of shelters that allow pets to come along with their humans. While Maine is a pioneer in protecting animals in homes where there is violence, there are still no shelters in the state which accept pets.

“It is our mission to provide grants to domestic violence shelters to help them become equipped to house family pets, so these special furry family members are not separated from the humans they love during such a traumatic event,” Dwyer said. “Until that goal is met, we strive to provide funding for families in harm’s way for emergency temporary, pet-friendly housing, or a temporary foster home for their animals.”

In conjunction with the Mutt Nose Best Foundation, BARRK is determined to make leaving early in the abusive relationship a little easier. Besides helping shelters overcome the barrier of taking pets, Dwyer’s organization works with a network of pet-friendly hotels and foster homes to enable people to get out with their animals, even if for just one or two nights.

To register for BARRK:

Visit The registration cost is $25 plus $2.37 in fees. It is open to solo humans or human-canine combos.

To read Jenny’s story, visit:

Debra Bell is a freelance writer and graphic designer and is the owner of Bell’s Furry Friends Photography (Bell Imaging & Design LLC). She, and her husband Bill, are owned by a Maine coon cat named Olivia and a greyhound named Laura. She also writes a blog called “Critters,” located at

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