Wheeling's video letting the world know it needs a dog park is now online, and sniffing it out could help the city win $25,000 or even $100,000 toward building a recreation area for man's best friends.
Supporters of the local drive to build a dog park filmed the video - a requirement of each of the 15 finalist cities in PetSafe's "Bark for Your Park" online voting contest - a week ago. And since it first appeared on YouTube Thursday, it already has received more than 1,000 views.
Meeting that goal will earn Wheeling 1,000 bonus votes in the competition, which runs through July 26. The winning city will receive $100,000, with four others winning $25,000 toward a dog park.
The 34-second video, set to a catchy jingle composed by local musician Jamie Peck, depicts a friendly, active dog at various points of interest in town, including Heritage Port and the Capitol Theatre. It is also seen in front of WesBanco Arena hanging out with "Buck" - the Wheeling Nailers mascot who, incidentally, is also a dog.
"I think it's great, and it shows Wheeling in a great light. It's fun. ... Ours is definitely at the top in terms of production and creativity," said Jeremy Morris, one of the leaders of the effort to get a dog park built in Wheeling.
Thus far, Wheeling's commercial has proven to be the most popular among all the finalist cities, with more than twice the number of views reached by the second most popular video, filmed by Mountain House, Calif.
"I think that shows how much of a grassroots campaign we have in Wheeling," Morris said.
Everyone can vote twice per day in the competition, once at www.petsafe.net and once on Facebook, with each Friday also presenting an opportunity to gain extra votes. That day, those who find and correctly answer a hidden question on PetSafe's website will have their votes counted as seven, not just one.
Wheeling has been stuck in third place on the leaderboard for quite some time now, but its vote total leads the five communities classified as "medium cities" by a wide margin. If the city holds onto that lead, it will win one of the $25,000 awards, which go to the leaders in each of the three size groups, as well as the city whose vote total expressed as a percentage of its population is the highest.
Wheeling's video in the Bark for your Park contest is now online, and can be watched below. Don't forget to vote for Wheeling at petsafe.net.