LAKE PLACID - Don't worry: It's not a real dog.
Debbie and Lenny Sweeney, who organize the annual Kyle Sale for Pets, say their life-like dog statue, which is made of resin, has been attracting a lot of attention lately. That's a good thing: the dog helps advertise their fundraiser, which benefits the Tri-Lakes Humane Society and honors their son Kyle, who died unexpectedly in 2006.
"My wife and I found this dog at a yard sale," Lenny told the News lat week. "We started thinking about it. Every year we have the Kyle Sale, and we thought it would be a good advertisement to have the dog right out in front by the sign. But what's happened is that he looks so realistic, we've had people call and say, 'I want to make sure that the dog is OK,' or, 'I stopped and I thought it was a real dog but now I realize it's just a resin dog.'"
Debbie and Lenny Sweeney, pictured here with Ralph the “dog,” are preparing for their annual yard sale, held in honor of their son Kyle and to benefit the Tri-Lakes Humane Society.
The dog, named Ralph, sits in the corner of the Howard Johnson's parking lot on Saranac Avenue. Lenny said people have even put in calls to local veterinarians to report him as abandoned or lost.
But Ralph and the Sweeneys don't mind the extra attention.
"It definitely is a big help," Lenny said. "It's been a great advertisement tool, for sure."
"Because Kyle was such a dog lover - he would do anything for pets - we thought we would start this," Debbie said.
Debbie said funds from the sale originally went to Adirondack Friends of the Animals, a Lake Placid-based community organization that closed its doors several years ago. Now, 100 percent of the money raised goes to the Humane Society.
"Over the past six years, we've probably donated maybe $7,000 from the sale, which for a yard sale, that's really, really good," Lenny said. "It's something we enjoy doing every year. People look forward to it now. It's a way that we get to honor our son and the way he loved animals."
This year's sale will be held May 24-25 at the Howard Johnson's parking lot and, like in past years, will feature gift basket raffles. To donate items, contact the Sweeneys at 523-2525.
"We set up times and we'll meet people here," Debbie said.
On Saturday, May 25, a local clown act will be at the sale to entertain children while parents shop.
"We hope that people will come by and hopefully find a treasure they've been longing to have, and to stop by to visit Ralph and say hello," Lenny added.