Pets, people flock to park

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Greenville’s Confederate Park hosted a lively throng of breeds on Saturday, where local shelter puppies frolicked with pedigreed canines as well as fellow rescue pets at the Butler County Humane Society’s “Bark in the Park.”

“The day was lots of fun for all,” said Butler County Humane Society President, Herb Morton. “This is only our second Bark in the Park event, and it was a great success for helping animals. We hope to do it again in the fall and raise more funds to help needy pets find good homes and achieve other goals of the Society.”

Q94 radio host Mark Ritchie, whose broadcasting provides Butler, Lowndes and Crenshaw counties with “America’s Best Country” music, donated his time and music for the Cake Walk.

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Nearly 40 delicious homemade cakes and desserts were won by partipants, and, when not announcing cake winners, Mark and his wife Dianne helped throughout the day. And also the face-painting by Annabel Markle of Studio 5, who also designed the Butler County Humane Society and Greenville Animal Shelter logo.

The grand prize-winner of the “Pet Treats Basket” raffle was Janet Heartsill of Fort Deposit. Four runner-up winner names were also drawn for pet gift bags: Kimberly Thiem of Honoraville, Sherry Rogers of Luverne, and Buddy Fuller and Glenn Cooper of Greenville.

Prizes may be picked up at Quality Coop on the Greenville Bypass, where the gift basket was displayed for raffle entries this past month.

W. O. Parmer K-2 grammar school students’ artwork on display attracted many admiring comments.

Pets had been painted, drawn and decoupaged in a variety of media under guidance of teacher Jason Worley.

Several students helped in other ways at Bark in the Park: leash-training shelter dogs and puppies during the event, giving out prizes, and feeding and watering pets at the site.

“I love helping with animals!” said 10-year-old volunteer Olivia Foster, 4th grade student at Greenville Elementary School. Her sister Isabella Foster, W. O. Parmer first-grader, was also a volunteer, as was Danielle Burt, 3rd grade Greenville Elementary student.

The Pet Parade at the end of the event was colorful and interesting.

“Smallest Dog” award went to Tom Braxton’s Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, and “Largest Dog” award to Rebecca Duncan’s black Labrador, Searcy. “Family Dogs” award went to Jerry Wilkerson’s mother and daughter (and almost lookalike) rat terriers, Sassy and Mully. “Tough Guy” award went to Herb and Olga Morton’s pug, Rusty, whose square-set look was “James Cagney to the core!” said Pet Parade judge Faye Finney.

“Best Dressed Pet” was indisputably Amy Bowden’s white Eskimo-Spitz, Murphy, in glitzy pink outfit with owner-matching Hawaiian flower leis. “Hollywood Look-a-Like Dog” was Gerald Johnson’s Wheaten Terrier, Devo, whose appearance was judged most like “Benji” by young volunteers who recognized Walt Disney dog movie stars.

“Oldest Dog” was Jean Bauer’s Border Collie/Labrador, Louise, a dignified age 12, and “Youngest Dog” on parade was Paul Anka, Jean’s frisky 1 year-old Bichon Frise. Having dogs win both oldest and youngest categories gave Jean Bauer the grand show prize — a free dog grooming by “Love on a Leash” pet salon.

Several of the Pet Parade winners were shelter dogs who had been adopted by their caring owners.

“We are so glad to show people what lovable companions rescued animals can be,” said volunteer Kandys Killough. “The Pet Parade is a great example of both kennel-bred and adopted pets — and it’s great training for the not-yet-adopted puppies that participated, too.”