Area dogs compete for trophies at Bark in the Park Saturday

Published 1:35 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NICOLE ZEMA | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Shelby Mason dares you to find a dog more beautiful than her Girl.

NATCHEZ — Dogs around the Miss-Lou are making plans to bring their owners out to Bark in the Park Saturday.

The Natchez-Adams County Humane Society event will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Grand Village of Natchez Indians. Admission is $4, and $1 for children younger than 5. Kathy Fitch, who is helping to coordinate the event, said all proceeds benefit the humane society’s operations fund, which feeds shelter animals and keeps the doors open.

“It is a great day to be out with your dog,” Fitch said. “And there are a lot of fun activities you share it with your dog, or dogs.”

Fitch said Bark in the Park is also an opportunity for dogs to socialize with other dogs, and to show off by competing in events. But having a competitive dog, or even having a dog at all, is not a prerequisite.

“Even if someone doesn’t want to compete, they can just go out and enjoy spending the day with dogs,” Fitch said. “Get a lawn chair, come out and enjoy the camaraderie.”

Fitch said Bark in the Park is one of the largest annual fundraises for the NACHS.

“We depend on it,” Fitch said.

Fitch added that the event will feature an adoption box, with a small selection of dogs available for adoption. There will also be a concession stand and collectible T-shirts for sale designed by local artist Kay Browning.

“People just always have a lot of fun,” Fitch said. “And the dogs enjoy the attention.”

Leigh Anne Mason and her daughter Shelby, a fifth-grader at Adams County Christian School, will be bringing their dog “Girl” to the Grand Village Saturday.

Of all the categories in which Girl can compete, the Masons agreed that she might have the best shot in the “most beautiful female” division.

“Bring your dog to Bark in the Park,” Shelby said, cradling Girl. “You will get to see other people’s dogs, and will get to see my dog.”

Leigh Anne, who has served as a judge at Bark in the Park events in the past, said the dog costumes are really something to see.

“I saw one that was a butterfly,” Leigh Anne said. “And one weenie dog with a bun.”

The contest registration fee is $2 per dog, per category. First-, second- and third-place trophies will be awarded for these first six categories: Most handsome male, most beautiful female, cutest puppy (ages 6 weeks to 4 months), best trick, best dressed and best owner look-alike. Only one trophy will be awarded for the following: Best tail wag, best smile, best singer and Mr. and Miss NACHS.

Mr. and Miss NACHS must have been adopted from the Natchez shelter to compete in this particular category.

For more information about the event or pet adoption, visit natchezpetadoptions.org.