Monday, June 30, 2014 —
On Saturday the dog park at Officer Jeff Shelton Park in Locust was transformed into a pet wonderland. Vendors, owners and their dogs gathered to meet, share and admire each other’s four-legged friends.
Under the direction of Locust event coordinator Emily Jones, the city hosted its first Bark in the Park for local canine fanciers. Dogs of every size and shape — from a great Newfoundland named Red Dog, to a pair of Pembroke Welsh corgis named Molly and Tucker — came to enjoy the afternoon. The dogs frolicked and played and made new friends while their owners met and chatted with vendors and each other.
“We’re lucky to have this and have had really good support from our vendors and sponsors,” Jones said.
“I know next year we will be able to expand and have more things to do. I’m really looking forward to working with our sponsors and vendors on next year’s event. We will try to keep the Bark in the Park scheduled for the last Saturday in June.”
Meredith Batchelor, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro who has been an intern with the events office in Locust for the past six weeks, was the inspiration for the project.
“We wouldn’t have had this without Meredith, she inspired me to do it,” Jones said.
Raffles, samples and contests were part of the afternoon, with prizes for best trick, best groomed, largest, smallest and best costumed.
“We’ve had so much support from the community and the population of dog owners, I have to thank them all,” Jones said.
In addition to the music and party atmosphere, visitors received gift bags from vendors which contained healthy treats, information about pet sitting, veterinary services, grooming, adoption services, spaying and neutering and insurance. Organizers conducted raffles and drawings for pet-friendly gifts and booths gave out information and samples.
Tails of Hope pet adoption center in Locust brought adoptable dogs for the day. Holly Hicks, representative of Tails of Hope, spoke about their low cost spay and neuter services as well as their community outreach with strays and rescue animals.
The group boasts of facilitating 25 to 30 spays and neuters a month. Pets are picked up at McCoy Feed and Supply, taken to a facility and returned the same day.
Tails of Hope accepts donations of food and medications from the public to assist in their work with rescues and strays.
For information on this and other programs, visit tailsofhope.com.
For information on events in Locust or to participate in the 2015 Bark in the Park, contact Emily Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Sycuro is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.