A balloon release that had been a point of controversy this month went off without a hitch – and without protestors – Sunday afternoon at Queen of Paws Botique and Spa in Prairie Village. Dozens of people showed up to participate in the event that had been designed as a way to honor pets who have passed away and to raise funds to pay for the surgery of a dog who had been hit by a car.
Christine Gregory, owner of Queen of Paws, had been inundated by people who objected to balloons being released as part of the memorial. Gregory said she had been receiving derogatory emails as late as Sunday morning. The objections centered on potential harm to wildlife from the balloons. Prairie Village police were present in a nearby parking lot during most of the event. The police department had earlier received inquiries from groups questioning the balloon release.
Gregory offered candles as an alternative to the balloons. The ballon and candle sales raised money for Yoshi, a puggle that needed surgery after being hit by a car. Yoshi was hit in May and later had the surgery to repair his leg. After being in foster care with Love 4 Paws Rescue, Yoshi has now been adopted. Yoshi was in good spirits and on hand for Sunday’s event.
Gregory said she had the idea for a memorial because she had customers whose pets had died. She initially had planned to raise money for a shelter or rescue organization, but decided that paying the medical bills would be a better use.
“It hurts to be accused of doing something that is not our intention,” Gregory said before reading a poem at the service. A number of people stopped by during the hour-long event, with dogs in tow, and many were on hand to release balloons or light candles. Most people had inscribed the names of their pets on the balloons. Gregory said she was thrilled with the response Sunday.