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Dogs have their day at Bark in the Park

September 19, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN -- Paw-la Abdul was at Doub's Woods Park Saturday morning. So was Elvis.

Dogs with famous names -- and just plain Spot -- showed up for a day of fun and pampering at the second annual Bark in the Park, a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Washington County.

The event included games and contests, dog walks, dog reiki -- a massage technique -- and treat baskets.

There also were educational offerings for pet owners, as well as services such as rabies shot clinics and microchip implanting.

"It's a way for people and their dogs to spend a beautiful day together," said Katherine Cooker, spokeswoman for the humane society.

Organizers expected several hundred people to participate in the event.

"But with the perfect weather, we could have a much larger crowd than we thought," Cooker said. "We're very grateful to all the people who are coming out to support us."

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The fundraiser began with a blessing of the animals, followed by Paws on the Path, an opportunity for owners and pets to take a casual stroll through the park.

Skylar Rice of Hagerstown and her dog, Jelly, part Labrador, part Border Collie, were among those taking a walk.

What set them apart, though, were their costumes.

Skylar, 10, was dressed, she said, as an evil fairy, while Jelly, donning horns and a black cape, was a demon dog.

"We're going to take part in the costume contest," Skylar said. "I'm predicting we'll win."

Skylar said she likes dressing up with her dog and has quite a costume collection at home.

"Some are homemade, some I bought," she said. "I like doing this kind of stuff."

And what about her dog?

"He loves it, too," she said. "We have a lot of fun."

Skylar said she's had her dog for about two years and adopted him through the humane society.

"I fell in love with him right away," she said. "He's a sweet little thing and my very best friend."

The event also included a number of vendors, including Anshul Gupta, owner of Central Dawgma, a title sponsor of Bark in the Park.

"One of the most important things in a community is the success of its humane society," Gupta said. "We recently opened our business in Hagerstown and thought it was important to show our support."

Gupta said there are many helpless animals and the "tireless work performed by staff and volunteers at the humane society can't be matched. Being a part of an event like this is a way to show our appreciation."

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