On your bark, get set, GO! The Humane Educational Society is hosting the 17th annual Paws in the Park on Saturday, October 19, at Ross’s Landing. The annual fundraiser is Chattanooga’s largest community dog walk and dog/human costume contest. Proceeds from the Halloween themed festival provide education and outreach to the community, medical services for needy and neglected animals, humane investigations, shelter for homeless animals, and strong adoption programs, ensuring all animals adopted will have safe and loving forever homes.
Hundreds of animal lovers will gather at Ross’s Landing to make a difference for the animals at HES. Paws in the Park attendees can choose to support HES by walking solo or with their own canine companion. For animal lovers without a dog of their own, HES offers shelter dogs to rent for the day. Paws in the Park “Rent-A-Dogs” have a blast getting a break from the shelter and participating in the day’s activities. Many will find their forever home by the end of the day.
Participants are encouraged to preregister for “Chattanooga’s most Spooktacular Dog Walk” to be guaranteed an event T-shirt for themselves and an event bandana for their pet. Walk-up registration begins at 10 a.m. Before and after the walk, guests can enjoy vendors, food trucks, adoptable dogs and more. At 11 a.m., participants will gather at the balloon arch for a ribbon cutting to signify the start of the walk. The scenic walk route takes two- and four-legged participants down portions of the Riverwalk, under the Walnut Street Bridge and through the art district. The walk route leads supporters back to Ross’s Landing for an afternoon full of fun festivities.
After the dog walk, one of the most anticipated events of the day takes place: the dog/human costume contest, which is free to enter. Dozens of pet owners come out to participate in the competition. Past event costumes range from well-known characters to one-of-a-kind costumes that are both frightening and funny. Prizes will be awarded for best dog/kid costume, best dog costume, and best adult/dog costume. If your dog does not have a costume, don’t fret. You can still participate in the competition as a spectator and cheer on your favorite outfits of the day.
The Paws in the Park Halloween festivities will wrap up with the “Tennis Ball Toss,” and attendees can purchase tennis balls for $1 each. Participants write their names on each of their tennis balls and line up to throw them. Maggie, a HES alumni and local therapy dog, will choose the winners by retrieving the balls. If Maggie selects a ball with your name on it, you win a prize. “We are so honored to have adopted Maggie from HES. Being the awesome fetch dog that she is, Maggie gets to fetch the balls and help decide the winners. She can’t wait!” says Kathy Mindel, Maggie’s owner. A wide variety of prizes will be given out during the event, from tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium to pet accessories and more.
Paws in the Park is a fun way for the whole family to celebrate the fall season and Halloween with their four-legged friends while making a difference for shelter pets. Whether you participate in the dog walk or dress up for the costume competition, you do not want to miss this day of fun. Either way, do not miss the PAW-TY! Registration is open now at heschatt.org.