Meet Ernie: A Bay Village Celebrity

Almost each day at the Village Project headquarters in Bay Village, you can be certain to be met by Ernie! Ernie has served as the non-profit organization's mascot for the last eight years.

Barb Harrell, Executive Director and owner/mom to Ernie, stressed she absolutely loves rescue dogs but it was important to have a hypo-allergenic dog because most clients are immune compromised.

Ernie is a an 8-year-old Mini Goldendoodle, a cross between a Golden Retriever and a miniature poodle, who has been trained as a service dog and involved in promotions and events along with greeting everyone that has visited the Village Project office and Project Shoppe located on West Oviatt Road. He even was falsely arrested by Sgt. Mark Gillespie of the Bay Village Police Department as part of a fundraising effort. Ernie's bail was met and the BVPD donated the funds along with helping promote a T-shirt sale leading up to the big event to the Village Project.

The Village Project serves families struggling with the devastating effects of cancer who live in Bay Village, Westlake, Avon, Avon Lake and Rocky River. Their mission is to come together as a community of all ages to provide nourishing meals and extended care to our neighbors who are experiencing cancer. The Village Project Shoppe carries a variety of wonderful gifts and must-haves to decorate your home, take-out meals and, of course, gifts for and about canines. Some cats, too.

Ernie received training at Paws By The Lake in Avon Lake and working with his breeder. He proudly wears his working vest and knows when it’s on he is on active duty. Move over Elton John, Ernie has a huge wardrobe for all of his events. He’s a big walker in town and people know him. A local celebrity of sorts.

Ernie’s personal veterinarian, Dr. Frank Krupka, compliments that Ernie is very personable, quick to make eye contact, a real people pleaser and always looking like his Sunday best!

In fact, before Covid made its impact, volunteer kids would walk him too. He had regular visitors like Ed Godic with his dogs Sparky and Bailey. Covid has created boredom and lately Ernie has been getting into trouble. With events like Nourish and Pedal Project right around the corner, Ernie will be in his element and his loves the children and the limelight!

Ernie invites you to keep up on the upcoming events with the Village Project right here in the Observer and at the Village Project website,

Please consider becoming a Village Project volunteer or learn how else you can donate. Ernie will likely meet you at the door or might even let you take him for a walk.

Nancy Brown

Nancy Brown

Owner, Hot Diggity Dog, Inc.

Blog writer for Ohio Pet Expert

Advocate for lost, stolen and injured pets

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:13 AM, 02.02.2021