Bark in the Park attracts talented canines, owners

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; They sang, they sat, they begged. They wore feather boas and saddles, caught Frisbees and even jumped hurdles

And the happy yips and barks could be heard from the street Saturday as owners brought their beloved pets to the Natchez Adams County Humane Society’s annual Bark in the Park at the Grand Village.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes could be found with owners of all ages.

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&uot;He just loves to be around people,&uot; Tiffany Ratcliffe Campbell said of Roscoe, her miniature dachshund. Roscoe won friendliest dog in a field of happy canines.

Campbell, a Natchez native who now lives in Jackson, was on the phone almost as soon as she had the trophy in her hand. She had to rub the award in to her husband, who predicted Roscoe might only win &uot;dumbest dog&uot; (there was no such category).

Campbell attended Saturday’s event with her friend Holly Hudnall, whose Yorkshire terrier Scooter went home empty-pawed.

But Hudnall and Campbell both said the trophies were not the reason for coming.

Instead, supporting the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society is &uot;the one reason we came,&uot; Hudnall said.

In the talent competition, Dennis Brellenthin showed off the skills of 5-year-old Sheba, a yellow Labrador. Sheba wasn’t quite perfect at her sit and stay routine, but her owner blamed the weather.

&uot;If it was a little bit cooler, she would have done better,&uot; he said.

Still, Brellenthine, too, said he came to support the humane society, not to win awards.

Sheba’s big competition in the talent contest, Princess, impressed the judges with her singing, egged on by her master, Joel Guyer. Princess, an Australian setter rescued in Alabama, took first place in talent.

&uot;It was a tossup between the owner and the dog,&uot; said Mary Ruth Caldwell, who judged for the first time this year with her husband, Gary.

Mary Ruth Caldwell got involved with the humane society through Leadership Natchez.

She was an example of the new faces mixing with old friends at Saturday’s event, the 11th time the humane society has held the fund-raiser.

&uot;We have quite a loyal following,&uot; said humane society volunteer Linda Harper, who also noted the new participants at Bark in the Park.

&uot;We had a good turnout. We were a little worried because of all the activities going on today,&uot; she said.

In addition to contests such as best costume and best mutt, Bark in the Park hosted vendors selling treats for humans and dogs.

As Guyer, a big winner with both Princess and Rose, an Irish setter named Most Beautiful, said, &uot;(The humane society) is a real good thing to support. Especially with the funding cuts, it’s important to support them now.&uot;