A tail-waggin’ good time

‘Bark in the Park’ was all about the dogs

The ARL’s first annual Bark in the Park was held Saturday at Riverview Park, offering dogs and their owners various services, resources and educational opportunities. Pictured is Jeff Gethmann and his two dogs, Aspen, left, and Summit, enjoying some treats after the 5K walk/run.

The ARL’s first annual Bark in the Park was held Saturday at Riverview Park, offering dogs and their owners various services, resources and educational opportunities. Pictured is Jeff Gethmann and his two dogs, Aspen, left, and Summit, enjoying some treats after the 5K walk/run.

Saturday morning and afternoon, dozens of dogs and their owners congregated in Riverview Park to participate in a 5K walk/run, listen to guest speakers, mingle, and get some expert tips and advice to maximize a dog’s health and happiness.

“This is our first ever Bark in the Park, and we’re really happy with the turnout we got,” said Animal Rescue League Director Shelly Deal, whose organization sponsored the event. “Dogs did pretty well interacting with each other.”

The event kicked off at 10 in the morning with a 5K walk/run, which people could run solo, with family members, or accompanied by one or two of their canine companions.

“We came out because we wanted to support the ARL. Our dogs, Aspen and Summit, participated in the walk,” said Jeff Gethmann.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., a Pet Fair was held, featuring guest speakers from Man’s Best Friend, Lost & Finned, K-9 Trust & Obey Dog Training and the Marshalltown Police K-9 Unit, discussing the following topics: dog grooming, dog obedience, using dogs for police investigations, and more. The ARL, Diamond in the Ruff and the Heart of Iowa Kennel Club handed out information about their organizations.

Animal Clinic-The Vet offered pet microchipping and registration, at a reduced price. Happy Tails trimmed nails and cleaned ears, also at a discount.

“I wanted to offer these sessions because we get so many dogs surrendered to us [and this event] brought in experts that can help with behavioral problems.”

The Marshall County Pork Producers sold a burger, chip, cookie and bottled water meal, while the ARL operated a bake sale with goodies for both humans and dogs.

Free activities for kids included face painting, a picture booth, and a cut and color of cat and dog masks. A $1 cake walk activity sent winners home with stuffed animals.

Pam and Scott Ferriss brought their rescue dog Noodles to the event to help her gain confidence around other pets and humans.

“We’ve had her for about 10 months, and when we saw this event mentioned in the paper, we thought it would be a neat opportunity for her to socialize around other dogs and people,” Pam Ferris said. “I’ve been to other events like these out of state, and think they’re a great opportunity for people new to having dogs or want to get one, so they can learn more about microchipping, obedience, grooming and nail trimming.”

Additional photos from the event will be posted on the Animal Rescue League of Marshalltown’s Facebook page.

Bark in the Park is set to become an annual event.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com