Every dog has its day, and for those at Bark and Paws in Denison, that day was Saturday.
The seventh annual celebration welcomed dogs, their owners and canine-crazed members of the public for a day of fun in Heritage Park. Many dogs were dressed in accordance with this year’s disco theme and took part in a multitude of events, including a parade down Main Street, a wiener-dog race, and costume contests. Vendors, more than 20 in all, sold everything from broth-based “Bowser Beer” to car magnets identifying proud puppy parents. And though the day went largely to the dogs, the humans in attendance treated themselves to silent auction items and to a little exercise as well with a 5K and fun run.
“We’re just here to have a good time with our dogs,” Main Street Director Donna Dow said. “This is a chance to bring them out and show them off.”
In an effort to increase attendance at this year’s Bark and Paws, Main Street Denison and the Denison Animal Welfare Group partnered up for the first time and combined their yearly dog-centric events. DAWG rolled out its mobile adoption unit for the festivities and found a few folks who just couldn’t leave without adding a four-legged friend to their family.
“So far, we’ve had three adoptions today, and we’re really thrilled about that,” DAWG Executive Director Stephanie Phillips said Saturday afternoon. “A lot of people love animals, and it seems like they wanted to come out and support the homeless animals that we help.”
Father Don Perschall of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church was there to help as well and did so by bestowing a short blessing on owners and their dogs.
“God’s kingdom is much broader than just us two-legged creatures, who think it’s all about us — it’s not,” Perschall said. “The four-legged creatures are extremely important to us. They bring love and companionship. And quite often they bring hope and healing, too.”
“God’s Team,” as many Dallas Cowboys fans call it, was also represented at this year’s Bark and Paws costume contest, thanks to first-place winner Snookie Bear. The brindle English bulldog sported a tutu of the team’s colors and even a pink cowboy hat. Owner Raquel Benedict said she wasn’t quite sure whether her dog enjoyed being dressed up, but she said the $100 prize she clenched would likely go toward Snookie Bear’s outfit for next season, as well as some practicalities.
“I’ll probably spend it on some vet bills and maybe even some new clothes to get her ready for next year,” Benedict said.
As she provided her panting pup with some cool water, Benedict said the bond between humans and dogs last for life and it has everything to do with love.
“I think what makes the relationship so strong is because regardless of what other people think about you, they’re going to love you unconditionally,” Benedict said. “They’re going to be there and they’re going to love you no matter what.”