Bark in the Park: One howl of a good time |

Bark in the Park: One howl of a good time

Now that the dogs are settling into their dorms and the cats are getting acclimatized to their condos at the new Rescue & Rehab Ranch, Friends of Animals Utah (FOAU) can focus on other matters at paw – er, hand.

Fundraising efforts are underway to finance the new facility, fund ongoing operations at the Furburbia adoption center, and continue the organization’s varied programs and services.

FOAU garners funds through private donations, grants and naming rights opportunities, and through fundraising events such as the Bark in the Park Dog Festival and 5-K9 Fun Run, which will be held Saturday, July 10, at Willow Creek Park in Park City.

According to FOAU Executive Director Cathy King, the primary purpose of events such as Bark in the Park is to raise money for operational costs. "These events allow us to raise enough money to get us through the first part of the year in operations," she says. "With our operations increasing as they have with the new ranch, it’s really important for us to have successful events."

The festival will start at 8 a.m. with what may be the only local 5K run that actually encourages canine participation. A 1K walk around the park will be offered for families and dogs not inclined to hoof the 3.2-mile course.

All race participants will receive swag bags containing goodies for two- and four-legged friends, and the fastest runners in each category will win great prizes. Race registration is $25 before July 5 or $30 after and can be completed online at

Upon crossing the finish line, runners and spectators (minus their canine counterparts) are invited to indulge in a pancake breakfast provided by local chef Jean Louis, who will personally be flipping flapjacks at the griddle.

The festival will begin at 9 a.m. and feature a variety of activities for both dogs and humans. Scheduled events include Frisbee-toss, best trick and dog-owner look-a-like contests; dog derby races; musical sit, an obedience version of musical chairs; and – new this year – an American Howl competition for vocal hounds.

The Utah Tail Blazers Flyball Club will show off its team of agility-trained dogs and Course A’Lure, a Salt Lake City-based group that has garnered a loyal following among dog owners, will set up an agility/obstacle course that dogs can traverse in pursuit of a motorized foxtail lure.

"It’s a hoot," says event coordinator Charlene Brewster. "Every dog can try their paw at it and it’s really fun."

In addition to contests and activities, the festival will feature refreshments, exhibits, kids’ activities and representatives from breed-specific rescue groups and local nonprofits.

Admission to the festival is free. Proceeds from race registration and food sales will benefit FOAU.

"This is one of the few events where your dog is welcome," Brewster emphasizes. "We hope everyone will come out with their pups on leash and join us. We always love to see our alumni, too – that’s really special."

For more information about Friends of Animals Utah and special events, visit

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