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The pet mural project near the corner of First Street and Roanoke Street in Christiansburg has undergone a transformation. The effort was a response to deteriorating conditions of the original mural.

Last year, local artist Stephanie Akers began painting a mural in Christiansburg on the corner of First Street and Roanoke Street. People donated $100 to have their pet depicted in the mural as a way to raise funds for the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program (MCEAP).

Unfortunately Akers was unable to complete the project, so several other artists took over, led by Sue Hossack. The group soon discovered that what had been done so far had already started to peel. Sadly, the work began to remove the 30 pets already completed, after documenting what had already been done. This phase of the project was accomplished with the help of Greg Branscome of New Look Exterior (who did the power washing), Matt Nottingham and Brenda Springer of the MCEAP board, and other volunteers.

Since June, Hossack designed a new mural, and began the task of laying it out, repainting the pets and adding the others (a total of 87 animals). During the hot summer and into the fall she painted 71 animals, the rainbow steps and a tree.

With the assistance of other artists — Lee Walker, Mary Ratliff, Joanne Reingold and Nikki Pynn — they completed 67 dogs, 14 cats, three horses, one duck, one rabbit and one goat, plus several bees, butterflies, dragonflies and a frog! One of the dogs, Lyle, is a therapy dog, who goes to Falling Branch Elementary School.

The mural is complete for now, but MCEAP will begin taking applications for new pets in the spring.

Submitted by Sue Hossack

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