By Michael Williams
After a 12-year run at the Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge, Dawn Goehring and her Comedy Barn Canines are retiring. The world famous dogs performed for that last time Sunday night in an emotional show that that served as an opportunity to raise money for the Sevier County Humane Society.
Geohring and her family are moving to Hawaii where her husband has accepted a job. Goehring’s 13 dogs will be flying to California before they are shipped to Hawaii.
Geoehring started out as a volunteer at the SCHS 13 years ago. When the dog trainer at the Comedy Barn retired 12 years ago, Geohring stepped up and accepted the job. Her tenure at the show has been one with many highlights. She and her trained dogs appeared on the David Letterman Show, Animal Planet and numerous commercials.
All her dogs were rescue dogs taken from shelters. These were the throw-a-way dogs no one wanted. From these humble beginnings, Goehring made the dogs stars in their own right. With the patience of a saint, Goehring took dogs into her act that few would have expected to perform. One such dog is Hoppy a three-legged dog that was facing the prospects of euthanasia.
Perhaps the most famous of her troupe was Miss Ellie, a hairless breed that was entered in the “Ugliest Dog Contest. The lovable canine won second place. The following year she was entered in the Cutest Dog Contest and came in fourth in the nation competing against more than 300,000 dogs. Miss Ellie died three years ago at the age of 17.
Before the sold out show began Sunday night, Goehring was called onto stage where David Fee of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment presented her with a plaque commemorating her work at the Comedy Barn.
Jayne Vaughn of the SCHS gave a tearful speech as she recounted her long friendship with Goehring and the work Goehring performed at the animal shelter. Vaughn was presented with a check from Fee for $37,263 for the animal shelter. Vaughn praised Goehring and Fee/Hedrick for their support over the years.
Next, Goehring was presented with a proclamation from the office of Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear who recognized Goehring for appearing innumerous commercials for the city’s department of tourism and for the many programs she has presented at local schools. Goehring was visible moved by the outpouring and occasionally wiped away tears throughout the presentation.
“If it wasn’t for this company and this community I couldn’t have done what I have done,” said Goehring. “I was honored to be honored, but I couldn’t have done without this company that has supported me and my dogs throughout all the crazy ideas I have had over the years.”
The money will used to build a meet and greet room at the SCHS where dogs can interact with potential adoptive families. Fans can keep up with Goehring and her dogs at Hawaii Bound Hounds on Facebook.