This Saturday, March 20, Auburn Parks and Recreation and the Lee County Humane Society hosted the return of Bark in The Park at Kiesel Park in Auburn, Alabama.
Bark in The Park is an annual event where vendors are brought to dog owners. Local vets, pet supply stores, designers and animal-related organizations set up booths along the pathway and balloon arches are set up at the entrances of the park.
After last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, Bark in The Park was missed by many during the year and its return was highly anticipated by both owner and dog alike.
Krista Wignall adopted her dog from the Lee County Humane Society in 2015 and decided to become a volunteer at the society in 2016. She has been helping with Bark in The Park for the past three years and was surprised by this year’s event.
“Even with the circumstances, less vendors, the distancing, it’s a really good turn out,” Wignall said. “… [It] doesn’t matter if they’re looking to adopt or not, just coming out and enjoying the nice day and taking advantage of it is really nice to see.”
From the gazebo, people could hear the live music being played and for refreshments, the event offered a Kona Ice truck along with a barbeque trailer. For the dogs, many of the booths gave out free treats and the Lee County Humane Society’s booth offered attendees a chance to go home with a new best friend.
Wade Aston and Amy Aston had gone to a previous dog meet-up similar to this event called Woofstock in the 1990s and had enjoyed 2019’s Bark in The Park with their golden retriever.
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However, this year, they came to the event wanting to find another dog to add to their family.
“We had made this decision to adopt, but we wanted to see if it was a good fit,” Amy said.
The Aston’s knew of the Lee County Humane Society and the dogs wearing yellow harnesses and leashes that say “Adopt” on them would be at the park that day. They went looking to match their dog with one from the humane society.
“It meant a lot,” Amy said. “It was a great way to get our dog to meet other dogs and make sure they were a good fit before making a commitment to take a dog home and there be issues. It’s nice to get out and let him run around.”
The newly adopted dog, Rufus, would be going home with the Aston’s the next day after the proper paperwork was handled at the shelter while the rest of the adoptees continued to have a play date in the park.
“Even if a dog doesn’t get adopted, it’s great just to get them exposure and let people see the dogs,” Wignall said. “We get a chance to see how they are in new environments and with new people around. It’s a great experience even if they don’t get adopted.”
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