Logan, an English mastiff, licks himself off after a helping of water from the community water bowl - a kiddie pool - in front of the Veterinary Medical Center's table during the Bark in the Park event Saturday. (Photos by Max Hrenda/Johnson City Press)
Anyone who thought they smelled wet dog in the area of Howard Johnson Field this weekend wasn’t imagining anything.
On Saturday, as the Cardinals squared off against the Kingsport Mets, fans were permitted to bring their four-legged friends to the game for Cardinal Park’s annual Bark in the Park event.
The event allows dog owners to bring their furry companions to the ballpark to take in the game and meet other dogs. Cardinals General Manager Tyler Parsons said the event also helps families stay together by including their pets in recreational activities.
“We want people to bring their dogs out and invite their families,” Parsons said. “That’s the joy of baseball. It’s one of the few sports where we do a Bark in the Park, where you can bring a dog out to a sporting event.”
In addition to spending time with pets during a baseball game, Parsons said the park planned on offering an array of activities to keep both dogs and their owners entertained.
“We’ll have a best-looking dog contest,” he said. “We’ll have a police dog demonstration. We’re going to have a dog-versus-man eating contest. We’re focused on making this as big as you possibly can.”
Like baseball, however, the event’s activities were subject to weather conditions. After the third inning, as the Cardinals led the Mets 8-1, the game was postponed on account of rain.
The game will resume at the top of the fourth inning Saturday at 4 p.m., but Bark in the Park and its activities will not. One of those activities — the eating contest — was conducted before the game was called, however.
“(The) dog won in a landslide,” Parsons said.
Before the rain started to fall, families brought dogs of all breeds and sizes in to participate in the event. The event’s sponsor, the Veterinary Medical Center, provided community water bowls in the form of kiddie pools for any parched pooch to partake, as well as “goodie bags” filled with treats. According to VCM Owner and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Shelley Brouillette, the event served as a good backdrop to help spread awareness about her practice.
“We’re not promoting anything specific,” Brouillette said. “We’re just getting our name out there and letting people know we’re around.”
Primarily, Brouillette said, the VMC wanted to help facilitate an event that would allow dog owners to bring their whole family to a family-oriented event.
“Anytime you can include (dogs) in a family event like a Cardinals game, I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “It brings awareness to the fact that they’re part of the family and can be more involved with everything we do.”
Although the date has not yet been determined, Parsons said Bark in the Park will be rescheduled to allow dog owners a full evening to spend with their pets at the ballpark.
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