Inspired by her own rescue dog, Harley, 17-year-old Kassidy Kovar started the service project The Bark “Hound"ation.

The purpose of The Bark "Hound"ation is to advocate for the fair and humane treatment of animals through education and awareness, while supporting animals in need of rescue by promoting fostering, adoption and donations, Kovar said.

“Following a skiing accident that left me with a broken jaw, ruptured eardrum, and cracked skull, I suffered a concussion that made me feel anxious and depressed,” said Kovar, a senior at Perham High School who lives in Frazee. “A few months later, I got Harley, a rescue dog that had made his way north to Minnesota from Kentucky with Happy Tails Rescue. Harley put me at ease and brought me back to my fun-loving adventurous self.

"I felt the desire to help give back to other shelter animals so they too could positively affect people just like Harley did for me.”

For her work with her "Hound"ation, Kovar was named a Distinguished Finalist in Minnesota for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

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"I have written letters to state and local representatives in other states to share my story and encourage them to become no-kill states like Minnesota,” Kovar said.

In addition to her letter-writing campaign Kovar has sold around 100 dozen homemade organic dog treats to raise funds to send to 26 animal shelters and rescues in 22 different states in the form of Walmart gift cards, Kovar said.

Kassidy Kovar, left, with the Perham Princesses after upcycling T-shirts into dog toys. (Submitted photo)
Kassidy Kovar, left, with the Perham Princesses after upcycling T-shirts into dog toys. (Submitted photo)

Kovar has also led local youth groups in upcycling T-shirts into dog toys to donate to local humane societies.

Logging more than 500 hours of community service with over 25 organizations. Kovar has been a volunteer with Patriot Assistance Dogs and has organized a fundraiser called Calendar for a Cause raising $542 for them, she said.

Kovar’s latest project is a pet food drive running through Friday, Feb. 21. Anyone who wants to donate to the pet food drive can bring dog or cat food and treats to the drop off box at Great Beginnings Child Care in Perham, Kovar said. All the supplies donated will then be taken to the Humane Society of the Lakes in Becker County.

But Kovar's ambition doesn't stop there.

“My future plans include attending MSUM to study Business, Pre-Veterinary and continue to grow The Bark “Hound”ation and someday run my own animal rescue,” Kovar said.

Bark "Hound"ation online