Tech students play influential role in success of Putnam County’s “Bark in the Park

The annual Friends of Cookeville/Putnam County Animals’ “Bark in the Park” is next Saturday, and Tech volunteers will once again play a major role in the success of the event.”Bark in the Park” is a big play day for dogs and their owners to converge on the Algood City Park with plenty of activities for pooches and people in which to take part.

“The event kicks off with a ‘Walk for the Animals’ pledge walk at 10:15 a.m., followed by the main event beginning at 11 a.m. and lasting until 3 p.m.,” Linda Westin, president of FoC/PCA said. “A normal sized crowd is about 4,500 people.”

Featuring a pirate theme this year, owners are encouraged to bring their four-legged friend in a theme-fitting costume with contests for the best homemade costume and the best store bought.

Other activities include an agility course, lure course and a treasure hunt for dogs.

Other contests include competitions for “Best Dog Kisser,” “My Dog Can Do That!” and “Owner-Pet Look-Alike.”

To make sure everything goes off without a hitch, organizers rely on the hard work of volunteers, many of whom are Tech students.

“Tech students have always been a wonderful part of our Friends of Cookeville/Putnam County Animals events and activities, for which we are grateful,” Westin said.

The volunteers work in every part of the event ranging from pet care to helping with contests.

“Our volunteers work very hard and usually leave tired, but happy,” Westin added. “They leave knowing they did something great for the community and for the animals in the area.”

While volunteers range from every major and walk of life, a consistent force for helping “Bark in the Park” comes from the Tech softball team.

“Each year, the entire softball team volunteers to help us set-up on Friday and then run the event on Saturday,” Westin said. “We are totally appreciative of their dedication to this event and love having them each year.

“Several other wonderful teams and fraternities have volunteered from time to time, as well as Service Learning, Animal Science and Honors Program students.”

This year’s production of “Bark in the Park’ will have a strong showing from Tech once again.

“We are celebrating our 7th year of ‘Bark in the Park’ this year, and we look forward to the help from out Tech student volunteers again this year.

“Bark in the Park” is on Oct. 2 and admission is a $2 donation. For more information about the event or how to get involved, check out www.friendsofcpcanimals.org.