The Masons will hold a fundraising barbecue at the John W. Akin Lodge in Taylorsville on Feb. 23 from 4 to 8 p.m. Tickets are available for $8.
All the proceeds will help the Dodson family pay the $18,000 needed for Sophie, an 8-month-old golden retriever who will be trained to alert Hynlee’s parents when her blood sugar is too high or too low.
“She was diagnosed in September and being so young she can’t tell us,” said Mindy Dodson, Hynlee’s mother. “She doesn’t know when she is dropping too low or going too high. She doesn’t know — like an adult can feel those signs, and she cannot. So the dog will alert us 45 minutes before a meter can ever pick it up.”
Dodson said Sophie was being trained specifically to pick up variables in Hynlee’s scent. The dog is trained with swabs taken when Hynlee’s blood sugar was high and low, and then additional training was required for the dog to alert the parents. Jeanette Forey, Sophie’s trainer, said it takes approximately four to six months to train the dog.
Mason Harry Worthington, one of the barbecue organizers, said the organization heard about the family’s need for an alert dog and they approached the family saying they wanted to help them pay for the dog.
“It’s a wonderful family — they’re a young family — they have two other daughters besides this one,” Worthington said. “The father’s insurance does not pay one dime on a dog. We took on that part of it and we had done raised $1,000.”
As the Akin Lodge began raising additional funds, other lodges and organizations began collecting money as well.
“When we started this, lodges in other counties have took on to help us do this. We’ve got participation out of Polk, Cobb, Floyd, and just everybody [who] is getting the story is just about contributing in some way. I know we’ve got some help from churches, [they] have donated some. Sunday school classes took up a collection and every dollar counts. It doesn’t matter if it is a penny or several hundred dollars, we appreciate it just the same,” Worthington said.
Dodson said she was amazed by all the work the Masons have done on her family’s behalf.
“It’s amazing. I cannot say enough good things about the Masons. I personally had no doings with them whatsoever and they came to me. They heard about Hynlee and they came to our house and they were like, ‘Let us help.’ I can’t tell you what they’ve done. They have went above and beyond,” she said.
In addition to the barbecue fundraiser, the Masons have set up a donation account with Bank of the Ozarks on Ga. Highway 113 at Henderson Drive in Cartersville. Those interested may make a donation to the Donation Account for Hynlee Dodson. Worthington believed other Bank of the Ozarks branches should be able to take donations as well.
To purchase an $8 ticket for the barbecue fundraiser, contact any Bartow County Masonic Lodge or Mason. For more information, or to purchase a ticket, call Worthington at 770-366-2442, Jim Childress at 770-712-7176 or John Cook at 770-877-0326.