New group raises funds for dogs

By Ashley Luthern


Groups of four aren’t a strange sight at local golf courses, but four-legged companions are.

Mark Dickerhoof, 26, of Poland, is combining his two loves, dogs and golf, for the first fundraiser of his new group, Dog Enthusiasts United for Canine Education and Safety (DEUCES) Canine Charity.

He founded the nonprofit organization earlier this year and its first event, “Putt for Pups” is slated for Sept. 29 at Diamondback Golf Course on Leffingwell Road.

“Putt for Pups” is a golf scramble with teams of four golfers, plus one dog on the course if the team desires. The cost is $65 per person, including three meals, and registration is due by Sept. 8. A dog adoption will take place after the golf scramble about 2 p.m.

Dickerhoof got the idea for the organization when he was looking to adopt a second dog to join his 4-year-old beagle-bulldog mix, Deuce, the charity’s namesake.

“When I was looking in the shelters, I realized how underfunded everything is,” he said.

Dickerhoof said DEUCES will raise money to donate to local shelters — focusing on any dogs that need special assistance — continue to develop a foster network in the Mahoning Valley, and help pet owners keep their animals instead of dropping them off at a pound or shelter.

“We are prioritizing any cases that are life-and-death situations. If an animal needs surgery and the shelter can’t afford it, we will pay for it,” he said.

Mahoning County Dog Warden Matt Ditchey said he has met Dickerhoof and welcomes another local dog charity.

Because of the proliferation of these organizations, “people can find whatever one they want to be a part of, and that is the case with animal groups across the country. It’s just that many more people trying to help out, and so I think it’s positive,” Ditchey said.

Gary Pilcher, Animal Charity board chairman, said it would be beneficial to bring all of these nonprofit organizations, such as Deuces, together as a coalition.

“You’ve got hundreds of little shelters and societies all over place,” he said. “... There are a lot of voices in the wilderness and they’re not always singing the same tune.”

Pilcher said that if these groups could come together as coalition, they would have more political power, more easily share ideas, do bulk purchasing and increase educational opportunities.

“Even a loose coalition would work, and it doesn’t mean they have to give up independent status,” he said.

Pilcher said it’s good that so many people like Dickerhoof are willing to help local animals in need.

“Putt for Pups” is co-sponsored by Armstrong Cable and Dickerhoof said hole sponsors ($100) and donations for hole and raffle prizes are still needed, in addition to golf teams.

For information and registration forms, email or visit

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