By Sue Moore
When bridegroom Mitch Craddock and his six groomsmen, all from Vicksburg, planned their bachelor party in Tennessee for Craddock last fall, they expected to spend the time four-wheeling. Instead, they and a litter of pups managed to put Vicksburg on the map like no other good publicity for this community has ever accomplished.
The publicity has slowed. But it hasn’t ended.
A female dog found them, then led the guys to where she had placed her puppies in a hole. The dogs were dehydrated, dirty, hungry and oh-so-loveable. Right away, the men agreed to bring them back to Vicksburg. Each pledged to adopt a puppy or find a home for their charge. All the pups were spoken for even before the men left Tennessee. The story went viral when Mitch’s mom, Joanne Craddock, thought to ask Channel 3, WWMT, if it would be interested in a sweet human interest story. From there, it went on the AP wire, an interview on Good Morning America, and just recently an appearance on the Lori Moore show.
The puppies now have their own Facebook page under Tennessee Mutt Puppies. They were getting so many news outlets calling that the guys had to find an easier way to tell their story.
The dogs are now between five and six months old. The puppies have their own play dates as five of the guys live on the outskirts of Vicksburg and get together often on the weekends with their pups in tow. The happily married couple, Mitchel and the former Kristen Olson, have another dog that he gave her when he proposed marriage – a chocolate Labrador puppy with an engagement ring tied around its neck.
The men have developed a 2017 calendar with photos of the men and their puppies on the cover and a feature of each one on the inside. “A friend (Britnie Langs Photography) took the photos for free, Kal-Blue helped us with the design and printing, and we have been into a second printing as I’ve been sending them around the world to those who order them on eBay,” Mitch’s mom, Joanne said. “Anything we make on the calendars has gone to pay for spay and neutering the puppies first. Additional sales will go to the Kalamazoo Humane Society’s ‘Operation Fix-it’ program that provides low cost spay and neutering. We also plan to donate proceeds to the Tennessee county program in Huntsville, where the dogs were found.”
The pups have been given a year’s supply of dog food from Cargill’s Royal Loyall Nutrena pet food. Just recently, Mars’ pet food company, Pedigree, sent doggy treats and another year’s supply of dog food certificates to the new owners. That includes the Craddocks and the groomsmen: Trevor Jennings, Alex Manchester, Jake Rowe, Dave Perkins, all graduates of Vicksburg High School in 2011 except for Rowe, a Mendon grad. Brent Witters, Craddock’s best man and Logan Wolf, a groomsman, were unable to take a puppy. Craddock’s grandparents, Joe and Betty Gruber are dog lovers; they took the mother of the brood, named Annie, and one of her puppies.
Craddock’s father is an owner of High Country Construction, where Mitch works. The calendars may be secured by calling 269-649-0070 if they are purchased locally rather than through eBay.