Bark in the Park a howling success

Friday, May 23, 2014
Sparky the Fire Dog takes a walk.

By Karen Hall


The 3rd Annual Bark in the Park, held to raise funds for the Friends of Animals in Marshall County Humane Association, was a great success Saturday, in spite of the cool, rainy weather.

There were vendors, display booths, lots of politicians, and, of course, dogs of all sizes and shapes, from the biggest Great Dane to the smallest Yorkie.

Michelle Griffy Campbell and Sheriff Norman Dalton sponsored and judged the contests, assisted by Sparky the Fire Dog. The contests included best trick, owner-dog look-a-like, smallest dog, and most in need of a makeover (the prize was a free trip to the groomer). The smallest-dog contestants were passed from judge to judge to assess their weight, with Stella declared the winner.

The "tricks" didn't exactly come off as planned, with most of the contestants more interested in looking at the crowd than doing their prepared trick, but "BB" was the winner.

"I don't know if we should be judging the dogs or the people," laughed organizer Susan Ragsdale. She won the look-a-like contest with her own Haley.

The biggest dog winner was Harley, but Eli the Great Dane, who weighs an estimated 140 pounds and arrived too late for the contest might have given him a run for the money.

Stitch, a French bulldog, won the "Best Smooch" contest for the second year in a row.

Another French bulldog, Coco, had her own kissing booth, where, in return for a donation, she would give you a kiss.

"She's such a little ham," said owner Deborah. "She's an ambassador of goodwill and friendship."

In two years time the Friends of Animals in Marshall County Humane Association's goal is to replace the existing animal shelter with their own building, which will also accommodate cats. They want a local spay-neuter program as well.

Their fund raisers on Saturday included a Silent Auction and voting with donations for the "Cutest Dog."

On the main stage, a series of young people sang in the Teen Idol competition, with judges carefully listening from the shelter of a tent.

Shelby Lowe was the master of ceremonies, and sang a few songs himself.

Ragsdale said organizers looked at the weather forecast the day before and thought about canceling, but then said, "Let's just have it!"

They decided animal lovers were used to bad weather, and politicians wouldn't give up a chance to shake hands with voters, so the event went ahead, drawing attention to the Humane Society's cause and raising money for it as well.

Later, on the stage, Rosie got her award for Shelter Dog of the Year, and County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett made a special presentation to Ragsdale in recognition of all the work she has done, and continues to do, for the animals of Marshall County.