And they’re arf! ‘Bark in Park’ unleashes the hounds

Riverside Park was alive with joyful yips, sniffs and tail-wags last Saturday at Bark in the Park, hosted by the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County. Proceeds from the annual dogfest support the overall care of all animals at the shelter.

“The Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County is all about building a better community by bringing people and pets together, then helping them stay together,” said Michael Mandel, HSVB executive director. “A large part of that involves community engagement and creating venues for people and pets to enjoy with one another. That is what Bark in the Park is all about – giving pets and their families a fantastic day to enjoy each other and all of the many activities they will find at Bark.”

Like a dog with two tails, canines and humans could barely contain their enthusiasm at the veritable United Nations of four-legged friends. As humans traded stories, their canine companions gladly accepted pats on the head from even those without leashed tail-waggers.

The pups came in all shapes and sizes, with everything from purebreds to mutts making an appearance, as giant pawed, clumsy puppies watched in awe of the coiffed grande dames trotting past.

Demonstrations went on throughout the day, including performances by rescue dogs, proving every dog should have his day. Returning this year were the agility course, Disc-Connected K9s, Ultimate Air Dock Jumping Dogs and demonstrations by the COVB Police Department and IRC Sheriff’s Department K-9 Units. New on the schedule was a sheep herding demonstration.

Between demonstrations, people visited with dogs up for adoption and five found their forever homes.  Two-legged attendees also dined and shopped at pet-centric vendors and a Kids Zone featured rock and face painting.

Their next event is Cause for Paws, March 20 at the Oak Harbor Club. For more information, visit

Photos by: Gordon Radford
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