Tower goes to the dogs

Backers of Marysville landmark sponsor pet pride contest

By KARL SCHWEIZER

Herald Writer

MARYSVILLE — Supporters of the Marysville water tower haven’t run out of tricks to save it. Pet tricks, that is.

Dogs of all sizes preened in doggie sweaters and balanced tennis balls on their noses at Comeford Park Saturday, all to attract people to the park where the 1920s water tower sits.

Supporters need to raise $58,000 to bring the tower up to modern earthquake standards. Otherwise, the rusting landmark will have to be demolished, said city council member Mike Leighan.

A nasty downpour kept most would-be attendees away Saturday, but about 50 umbrella-toting tower supporters braved the elements to watch a dozen soggy dogs be put through their paces.

Liam, a terrier mix, appeared in what looked like a smoking vest and walked away with the best-dressed award, despite fierce competition from Daisy, a 3-month-old minidachshund who wore a green sweater.

"The judges recommended that the next time he enters the contest, he enter with either a pipe or a cigar," joked councilwoman Donna Pedersen, one of three judges at the contest.

A bloodhound named Tracker led 2-year-old Makayla Wilbur on a leash. Tracker won the best-groomed award.

The strangest pet award went to Bielezal Van Drevus, a Leonberger owned by Carol Bender of Mukilteo. The dogs, a German breed, get their name from their distinctive manes, which resemble a lion’s, Bender said. In Germany, they are used to pack up to 40 pounds. They can be seen pulling milk carts. They also work for search-and-rescue teams, she said.

Bender’s dog won because there are very few Leonbergers in the United States, said judge Jeannette Binns, owner of the K-9 Villa pet styling salon.

"You might see two in a lifetime," Binns said.

But the most entertaining pooch was Josey, a boxer mix who balanced a tennis ball on his nose, then caught it with his mouth. He won in the best trick category.

The water-tower fans put on other entertainment too, including a Dixieland band and an antique car show.

It all added up to several thousand dollars worth of donations, mostly from area businesses, Leighan said. The tower supporters have now raised $16,000 toward their $58,000 goal, he said.

That was good news to Lois Bailey. The tower is a part of her childhood memories.

"As a little girl, I stood here at 6 a.m. for Easter sunrise services," she said.

Lifelong Marysville resident Bonny Byers had fond memories of the tower and park too. The second Strawberry Festival queen said she stood in front of a fish pond just a few yards from the water tower when she received her engagement ring back in 1933. The pond has since been filled in with beauty bark.

"This tower does matter. It should remain," Byers said. "It is part of our heritage. When you come down the freeway into Marysville, the tower is what you look for."

Those interested in helping to save the water tower should contact the Marysville Historical Society, P.O. Box 41, Marysville, WA 98270.

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