Sharp-dressed dogs turn out for ‘Dogaween’ dog park fundraiser in Hartford

  • ">

    Louise, a one-year-old cocker spaniel Chihuahua mix, wears a saddle and bull rider costume during a "Dogaween" celebration at Watson Upper Valley Dog Park in Hartford, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • ">

    Emma, an eight-year-old lhasa apso, wears a Red Sox fan costume during a "Dogaween" celebration at Watson Upper Valley Dog Park in Hartford, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America photographs — Alex Driehaus

  • ">

    Ellie, a five-year-old mixed breed, wears a hotdog costume during a "Dogaween" celebration at Watson Upper Valley Dog Park in Hartford, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America — Alex Driehaus

  • ">

    Bambi, an eight-year-old Chihuahua, wears a "mommy's little pumpkin" costume during a "Dogaween" celebration at Watson Upper Valley Dog Park in Hartford, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

  • ">

    Dogs gather around Karen Crawford, center, of Hartford, Vt., as she hands out treats during a "Dogaween" celebration at Watson Upper Valley Dog Park in Hartford, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America photographs — Alex Driehaus

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/23/2021 9:36:29 PM
Modified: 10/23/2021 9:36:30 PM

It may have been a cool day on Saturday, but there were some hot dogs at Watson Upper Valley Dog Park.

There also were some dragons, a knight, a cow, a postal worker, a cowgirl and a Red Sox fan. All had four legs.

The motley crew of costumed canines turned out for the park’s Dogaween celebration. In addition to a costume contest, the group that runs the dog park, which sits on town land, also sold baked goods and held a yard sale to raise money to support the park’s operational costs, which total about $5,000 annually.

This year’s event was the park’s first since the death in March of one of the park’s founders, Wendy Smith, who lived nearby in Hartford Village and “was doing everything,” according to Jace Bunnell, one of the leaders of the Upper Valley Dog Park Supporters.

The park’s remaining volunteers have been working “to get back up and running again,” said Bunnell, a Lebanon resident.

Regular maintenance includes snowplowing, mowing and water costs, as well as maintaining the poop bag supply. Anne Rodia, the group’s treasurer, said the poop bag supply alone can cost $750. One volunteer, Hartford resident Jerry Pendleton, said he dug a ditch by hand to help divert water away from the park.

“If it wasn’t for Jerry, I don’t think we’d have a park,” Rodia said.

The park has separate sections for large and small dogs, features benches for people and some culvert-shaped climbing structures for the dogs. Trees are a feature of the park and some dogs weaved between them as they played Saturday. One bench on the small dog side is the future home of a plaque dedicated to Smith, Bunnell said.

Rodia and Pendleton both have small dogs and are part of a group that meets at the park almost daily at 3 p.m. In the winter, they rent space for a weekly meet-up at Small Animal Veterinary Emergency & Specialty in Lebanon. They said their dogs look forward to the chance to visit with their friends. The people do, too.

Rodia referenced a cartoon she had once seen, saying, “If it wasn’t for the dog park, I wouldn’t have a social life.”

Rodia’s dog Skylar, an 8-year-old West Highland White Terrier, came to Saturday’s event dressed as a cowgirl, while Pendleton’s 8-year-old Lhasa Apso, Emma, came as a Red Sox fan, though she protested against wearing the helmet and socks on her hind feet (or she was grumpy after Boston was eliminated from the playoffs the night before).

In spite of her protest, Emma earned an honorable mention in the small dog’s costume contest. Third place went to a Thanksgiving-themed outfit; second to a bulldog named Lola dressed as a peacock; and first place to Louise, a 1½ -year-old Chihuahua-Cocker Spaniel mix, who wore a saddle and rider.

Louise practiced wearing her costume at home in advance of the event, said her owner, Courtney Devers, of West Lebanon. She first tried other costumes, including a skeleton and a sombrero, but “she wouldn’t have it,” Devers said.

In the large dog contest, honorable mentions went to a postal worker and Waldo from the Where’s Waldo? book series. Third place went to a cow; second to a dragon and first to a hot dog.

The prize bags included gift certificates to local pet stores, as well as various dog-themed trinkets. Dog owner Bill Stearns, whom Bunnell described as the “most honest guy I can think of,” served as the judge for the contest.

The winning hot dog was a 6-year-old American Basset named Myla.

“She likes clothes,” said owner Linda Fadden, of South Royalton.

Fadden said that after spending last winter in South Carolina, Myla was “so excited to be back in the dog park.”

Fadden also is an enthusiastic park supporter and made baked goods — carrot cake, banana bread, rice crispy treats and cupcakes — for the event in hopes of inspiring some additional donations.

“We’re very fortunate to have it,” she said of the park.

Also there to inspire donations was Olivia McClelland, head groomer at Muddy Paws Dog Grooming in West Lebanon, who offered canine pedicures to support the park.

“It’s a good community here,” said McClelland, a Hartford resident who owns three dogs. It’s “very kind” and “very, very cool.”

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy