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SAN JOSE â Wearing sunglasses, bedazzled collars and superhero costumes, thousands of pooches took over William Street Park Saturday for the annual âBark in the Parkâ event, touted as one of the largest dog festival in the United States.
With costume and tail-wagging contests, agility tests, specialized dog training, dozens of vendors and about 4,000 dogs roaming the park, the event was a reminder of what we all know to be true: dogs make for the best furry companions.
Melissa Parsons, 33, of San Jose, attended for the first time with her neighbor, Abby, and her 3-year-old Chihuahua, Zoe,Â who sported a pair of brand new pink doggie sunglassesÂ purchased at the eventÂ to match her pink harness and dog tag.
âSheâs not usually around other dogs so sheâs kind of scared,â said Parsons.
Parsons, who works at the Canyon Creek Pet Hospital in San Jose, said events like these are important because aside from the fun, itâs an opportunity to educate dog owners about how to best care for their pets.
Organized by the Naglee Park Campus Community Association, the event featuredÂ demonstrations, food, live entertainment and vendors for dog owners and families. Attendees learned about dog breeds, how to pick the right pet and how to properly care for it. Nonprofits offered information on fostering, adopting, spaying and neutering and low-cost vaccines and micro-chipping. And vendors didnât disappoint with an array of outrageous costumes and doggie tees.
âThereâs a huge love of dogs in the neighborhood so weâre really excited to give people a space to celebrate dogs,â she Julie Hardin, one of the event organizers. âI can see everything from really small dogs to giant Great Danes. Itâs very exciting. It also gives the rescue groups that come in a place to inform people about rescue dogs and K-9 companions, so thereâs a lot of education that we do as well.â
The event had everything from Chihuahuas to Australian Shepherds, Pitbulls, Corgis and Boston Terriers, who barked, sniffed and wiggled their way through the park.
Carman Lam, of San Jose,Â first brought her dogs to Bark in the Park 10 years ago but decided to revive the tradition last year. She roamed the park Saturday with Elmo and Dixie, two gray 11-year-old Bedlington Terriers â imagine an adorable cross between a lamb and dog with a Mohawk âÂ from the same litter.
âI figured I shouldnât wait another 10 years to bring them again,â she said. She remembers being blown away by Elmo last year when he participated in the agility test, which required going through several obstacles.
âIt surprised me so much that he actually picked it up so quickly,â she said. âI had so much fun teaching him.â
The eventÂ provides funding for the Naglee Park Campus Community AssociationâsÂ neighborhood projects and events and also donates money to various animal shelters and charities, according to organizers.