Bark in the Park charity event benefits humane society

September 18, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Doubs Woods will go to the dogs on Saturday for the Humane Society of Washington County.

But dogs at Bark in the Park might have it good, with complimentary treat-filled totes or gift-basket prizes or other doggie goodies if they participate in games and contests like best tail wagger and bobbing for hot dogs.

There's even doggie reiki, a massage technique based on channeling energy to restore balance, said Dana Limpert, who will be offering doggie reiki at Doubs Woods.

"We all experience stress," Limpert said. "Animals experience stress, too. It's a wonderful way to relieve that."

This will be the Humane Society of Washington County's second Bark in the Park fundraiser, said spokeswoman Katherine Cooker. The idea is to create a fun event for people and pets, while educating pet owners and offering services like a $15 microchip-implanting clinic and a $7 rabies-shot clinic. These services are offered for fees that are a fraction of what it would normally cost at a vet, Cooker said.


Limpert, who's coming to the event from Federalsburg, Md., on the Eastern Shore, primarily performs reiki on horses through her business, Healing Hearts. But as an ecologist for the state of Maryland, Limpert said she's used reiki on animals she's met on the job - bats, toads frogs, even snakes.

She recalled the time when she and a couple of other scientists were surveying the number of animals in a region when they came across a black racer snake, which Limpert said are known to be aggressive. But they needed to measure and photograph the snake.

No prob, is what Limpert remembered thinking.

"The energy of reiki is all about the energy of love," Limpert said. "Animals can sense this."

So before she picked up the snake, she said she acted as though the snake could read her thoughts.

"Sorry if we have scared you. We just want to pick you up and take your picture because we think you are so beautiful," Limpert recalled thinking.

Limpert said the snake eventually relaxed enough for her to do so. She remembered that afterward, the snake gave her an odd look.

"Like, what kind of human are you?" Limpert said.

When it comes to reiki, Limpert said humans and dogs aren't that different. She said that on Saturday at Doubs Woods, she'll offer reiki on a by-donation basis. She'll also demonstrate reiki on their owners.

"So they can see what it's like," Limpert said.

Last year's inaugural Bark in the Park raised $6,470 for the humane society, Cooker said.

The humane society takes in an average of 5,600 animals each year, she said, but there has been a spike in the number of abandoned animals, left behind because their owners can't afford to care for them.

"The economy is really showing here," Cooker said.

It's free to attend but there's a cost for participating in some of the events. There is a one-time fee of $10 per dog to play in games and contests, Cooker said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Second annual Bark in the Park, fundraiser for the Humane Society of Washington County

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19

WHERE: Doubs Woods Park, Hagerstown. Accessible off Maryland Avenue or via South Potomac Street between E. Russell Hicks Middle School and Emma K. Doub Elementary School.

COST: Free to attend; $10 per dog to participate in games and contests; some other events charge a fee.

MORE: Humane Society of Washington County, 301-733-2060, or .

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