Doggie play days arrive with Westlake Ace Hardware

Veterans Community Project partners with Westlake Ace, opens doggie play yard.
Westlake Ace Hardware, Veterans Community, doggie play yard
From left, Scott Poore of Mission Driven, Michele Orphin of Veterans Community Project, and Kelly Ediger of Westlake Ace Hardware cut a ribbon and dedicate the new Dog Play Yard at Veterans Community Project’s VCP Village.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Veterans Community Project (VCP) offers support services that effectively end veteran homelessness. Westlake Ace Hardware said it has, “a long history of support for VCP and the wonderful work they do.”

Knowing that many VCP Village veteran residents have pets, Westlake Ace said it surprised the organization back in December 2021 with a very special gift for the dog park, announcing plans to fund a Doggie Play Yard to be ready in late spring 2022.

“On June 9, it was our pleasure to formally dedicate the new VCP Doggie Play Yard – which includes playground equipment for canine enrichment, specialized turf, and benches so veterans can sit and relax while their four-legged family members frolic,” said Westlake Ace.

It was great day of smiles, tail wags, treats, and barks, said the retailer, “as we unveiled the VCP Doggie Play Yard. Just as the VCP Village residents deserve a home of their own, now their beloved pets will have a place to run, romp, and bring more than a few smiles to the faces of the veterans.”

“The Dog Play Yard is a just a small way we can give back to those who served our country and made sacrifices to protect our freedoms,” said Kelly Ediger, marketing manager for Westlake Ace Hardware.

“VCP’s work even extends to helping the furry family members of its VCP Village residents, many of whom were recently homeless along with their beloved pets. We love that this program allows residents to reside with their companions and that it provides a dedicated space for exercise and play for the dogs. It also gives the veterans an opportunity for fellowship with other residents and dog owners,” said Ediger.

VCP Village is an innovative transitional housing community consisting of 49 tiny houses. Many veterans arrive at VCP Village with little more than the pain, uncertainty, and loneliness of life on the streets, said Westlake Ace.

A tiny house provides everything they need to live with dignity and safety: New furniture, appliances, housewares, bedding, food, and utilities, free of charge, said Westlake Ace, adding, “the veterans even have a fenced-in dog park for their furry companions!”

“Our long-term relationship with Westlake Ace hardware has created many opportunities for collaboration to help meet the needs of the veterans whom we serve daily.  Every time we have an urgent need, they step up to the plate to help us,” said Michele Orphin, director of development for Veterans Community Project.

“Our dogs need plenty of exercise and this newly built Dog Play Park gives the veterans a place to play and exercise their dogs. Westlake Ace even made sure the dogs received ice cream ‘pup cups’ at the ribbon-cutting ceremony! Westlake Ace always goes the extra mile for our veterans and I applaud their kindness,” said Orphin.

Also assisting in the Doggie Play Yard effort was Scott Poore and his business Mission Driven, which the retailer said helps shine the spotlight on the needs of animal shelters and the pets that are up for adoption. Westlake Ace has long partnered with Poore to facilitate projects like this.

Mission Driven is building a community of pet rescue heroes, Westlake Ace said. Poore spends seven days a week in animal shelters advocating for pets who have special needs, are seniors, or are just struggling to find a home. “And they sell cool, pet-themed apparel to make this happen. It’s their mission to get everyone to adopt, don’t shop.”

Founded in 2016 by combat veterans, Veterans Community Project refuses to let any veteran fall through the cracks, said the retailer. From providing housing to offering community support services, “they’re here for everyone who took the oath to protect and defend our country.”

Headquartered in the Kansas City area, Westlake Ace Hardware has been the helpful neighborhood hardware store countless generations have shopped at for power and hand tools, fasteners, paint, plumbing, lawn care, pet, electrical supplies, and BBQ grills and accessories.

Westlake has been part of the Ace Hardware Cooperative since 1959, a wholly owned Ace subsidiary since 2012, and currently owns and operates 152 stores in 12 states.