Bark to the Park really is a “walk for animals”, because it’s the dogs walking who receive the attention at this event. And they walk for FREE (it’s their master walking with them that pays a minimum $30 to experience this fun-raising event!)
Animal advocates interested in helping take the next steps in making the Midlands a “No-kill” community pull together fellow animal lovers to form teams, raise money from friends and family, and add their voices to the collective advocacy of ending the senseless killing of companion pets, simply for the reason that they are homeless. Teams are asked to set goals, as well as personal goals for their fundraising. Interested people can also register as independent walkers and those that can’t participate on the day of the event (April 5th) can be virtual walkers and still raise money for the cause!
On the day of Bark to the Park, it is truly an awesome experience to be among a very large gathering of over 1,000 dogs plus their people. Here, you can see pups of all sizes, colors, breeds, and demeanors. It’s even more fascinating to see a walk team that is full of one breed of dog, like an all dachshund team! You realize that while they have commons features, they are each individual in their special way.
This year the 1.5 mile walk at Finlay Park will start in a different location than it has been in previous years. Along with check-in/registration, walkers will gather at the upper part on Laurel Street between the 800 – 900 block near the corner of Lincoln Street. The Palm FM will be on hand to provide lively music, EarthFare will be distributing bottled waters and natural dog treats. To get your walking muscles warmed up, our Zumba instructors will be on hand to get you moving and grooving!
Leading the walk at 10:30 am this year will be our Chair Dog, “Charlie” (who is a very special rescue of ours), along with the Columbia Police Department K9 Unit. The scenic route – which will have water bowls along the way – will pass the Governor’s Mansion along with the historic Lace House and gardens, then heads around the back of the Mansion (on Gadsden Street), passing Finlay Park and Memorial Park (featuring the Vietnam War Memorial) all the way to the Vista onto Lady Street. Lady Street take you to Lincoln and the walk heads to Finlay Park via the “Vista Greenway” – a 100-year old railroad tunnel that stretches 400 feet under Lincoln Street. Once out of the tunnel, walkers cross Taylor Street and head to enjoy the After-Party.
Cooling pools for the dogs – and cold refreshments for their masters – await walkers who return to Finlay Park to enjoy the “After-Party”. K9’s in Flight will present two 20-minutes frisbee shows with a variety of dogs performing “dare-devil” skills catching those flying discs. Along with the cold beverages, a food vendor will also be selling delicious food items to enjoy while learning who our top money-raising walk teams are. There are also pet contests for you and your dog to participate in, a photo booth to document the fun, and a wide variety of sponsors sharing promotional goodies for you and your pet!
The event winds down by 1:00 pm, and by that time, both pups and their people should be ready for a Saturday nap! We hope that you are able to join us. You can sign up for Bark to the Park here!
by: Karen Deas, Special Events Coordinator, Pawmetto Lifeline