Bark in the Park

Bonita event wel­comes ca­nine com­pan­ions, pro­ceeds im­prove lives

RSWLiving - - News & Views - BY KLAU­DIA BALOGH Klau­dia Balogh is an Ed­i­to­rial As­sis­tant for TOTI Me­dia.

Bark­ing and frol­ick­ing take over the bank of the Im­pe­rial River on Jan. 23, as pet-lovers and their four-legged bud­dies pair up for con­tests and other fun at the 6th an­nual Bark in the Park. South­west Florida Vet­eri­nary Spe­cial­ists hosts the event at River­side Park in Bonita Springs. Pro­ceeds ben­e­fit Naples Equine Chal­lenge. Bark in the Park is free and runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Clinic of­fice man­ager Jessica Mintz says a new non­profit is cho­sen for each Bark in the Park. Naples Equine Chal­lenge is “a won­der­ful or­ga­ni­za­tion which works with spe­cial needs and hand­i­capped chil­dren and adults by get­ting them in­tro­duced to horses and rid­ing,” she says.

River­side Park will wel­come dogs of all shapes and sizes, sniff­ing and get­ting to know one another. Mintz ex­pects close to 600 par­tic­i­pants and their pets at this year’s Bark, whose creators rea­soned that pets and own­ers over time be­come more alike― own­ers should dress up their pet and wear a match­ing out­fit for the pop­u­lar look-alike con­test. The event is also an op­por­tu­nity to greet adopt­able pets from South­west Florida res­cue groups, watch a pet CPR demon­stra­tion, as well as demon­stra­tions by K-9 Search & Res­cue and Lee County K-9 units. Be­sides fun ac­tiv­i­ties, there will be en­ter­tain­ment, food and pet ven­dors.

Mintz says that idea for the event six years ago came about with the mo­ti­va­tion to cre­ate some­thing to sup­port the an­i­mal com­mu­nity, and where pets and own­ers can both par­tic­i­pate. Naples Equine Chal­lenge im­proves the lives for those bat­tling both phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenges, through ther­a­peu­tic horse­back rid­ing and other equine-re­lated pro­grams.

The 6th An­nual Bark in the Park will fea­ture adopt­able pets (be­low left) from res­cue groups. Dr. Michelle Pa­trick (at left in photo be­low right) and her as­sis­tants will give CPR demon­stra­tions that help stricken pets.

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