COLUMBIA CITY — As Whitley County 4-H families set up for the fair on Wednesday evening, the excitement of the upcoming fair was dampened with the news of K-9 Cas’ passing.

Whitley County 4-H has commemorated Cas in several ways at this year’s fair. A Thin Blue Line flag hangs in the show barn, a wood-carved memorial of Cas will be auctioned Thursday along with “Canine Care Package.”

“The 4-H pledge states in part ‘my hands to greater service to my community,’” said Kelly Sheiss, a member of the Whitley County 4-H community. “Many of us wanted to do something — there were 4-H volunteers who were first responders at the recent. There are Sheriff’s Department families and friends in the program, and for many years, that department has helped keep our fair safe and secure.”

Sheiss helped coordinate the Canine Care Package, which contains dog-related items, such as treats, food, toys, leashes and collars — that were donated throughout the fair. All items will be donated to the Whitley County Humane Shelter after the auction.

“There is nothing that can ease the pain of such a loss, but this is a way for kids, families and our community to offer a healing, helping hand,” Sheiss said.

In addition, Randy Schreiber, who has donated wood carvings for the auction for the past several years, had a change in plans for his carving this year.

He was ready to carve a rabbit, but when he arrived at the fair, his plans changed. Schreiber, of the Churubusco/Huntertown area, had never carved a dog before, but was willing to give it a try. Though he’s not from Columbia City, he could see the impact Cas’ loss was having on the community.

Schreiber began donating his time to carve for the 4-H Fair about four years ago. He’s contributed a horse, rooster and corn on the cob — which have all sold for several hundred dollars — all funds go back into the program.

“I enjoy giving back,” Schreiber said.

He spent about 10-12 hours working on his carving of Cas, working off of photos of her provided by the community.

Anyone wanting to add to the buyer group can do so at the gazebo from 9-11 a.m. on Thursday morning.

It is planned that the carving will be returned to the Sheriff’s Department or Officer Gary Archbold after the sale.