BRISTOL - The third annual Bow Wow Bark in the Park is happening Saturday at Rockwell Park to raise awareness and donations for pit bulls and shelter animals.
Alexandria Paulette started the event after she adopted a pit bull named Kane in 2014, who, unfortunately, passed away this year at the age of five.
“He was the inspiration for this event and I am hoping that this year will be the biggest and best yet in his memory,” she said. “This is an event to raise awareness for pit bulls and shelter animals here in Connecticut. Pit bulls are the most common dog found in a shelter and sadly only one out of every 600 pit bulls who enter a shelter will ever walk back out.
“This is because pit bulls are the most misunderstood and mistreated breed. My event is to show people that pit bulls are loving, fun, special dogs and that they deserve the same rights and love as any other dog.”
Paulette explained many people view pit bulls as “bad, fighting dogs.” As much as she would like to say “no they are not,” she acknowledged, “the reality is some are,” because of humans.
“Some are bad. Some do attack. Some do fight. And this is not their fault. It is their owners’. People who make them fight. People who abuse them. People are to blame for the stigma. We need to stop putting the blame on the dog,” she said.
This year is the first time there will be a “Pitty March,” which was organized to help combat the stereotypes of pit bulls and “aggressive” dog breeds.
“This is going to be a march around the park, open to all breeds and people, to walk in unity with and for pit bull awareness,” Paulette said.
The event will feature food vendors, animal shelters and rescues, she added, and all dogs will receive an official Bow Wow goodie bag upon arrival.
“We already have over 110 vendors and hopefully more to come. We have crafters, vendors, rescues, shelters, food trucks and more,” Paulette said. “There will also be many animals there looking for a family to call their own.”
The event includes contests, agility courses and raffles. Raffle tickets are $1 each and $5 for the grand prize raffle worth over $250. Participants do not need to be present to win.
There is also a costume contest and talent show. All participants will receive a prize, however, first, second and third place will receive larger prizes work between $10 and $50.
All proceeds will be donated to the rescues who attend the event, Paulette said, and it “is free, but we are asking people to bring an item to donate to a shelter in need.”
Attendees are asked to use their judgment in deciding if dogs will feel safe and happy at this event, in large crowds, and is both dog and human friendly. Safety is the main concern and there will be security for any dogs or humans not following the guidelines.
The event is set for Sept. 2, and will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. at Rockwell Park. A talent show begins at noon, the “Pitty March” begins at 1 p.m. and the costume contest at 3 p.m. A rain date is set for the following day.
If you are interested in being a vendor, volunteering or donating a raffle item please email email@example.com for information.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-973-5088.