Last updated: February 16. 2013 4:15PM - 526 Views

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Local animal lovers can look forward to a free day-long event celebrating the special bond between pets and their owners, coming up in September at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

Hosted by Hop Bottom animal shelter Laura's Hope Rescue, "Bark in the Park" will be held on September 16 from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m.. Event organizers hope not only to appeal to current pet owners, but also to those who may still be looking for the right furry companion. But the event isn't just about animals. Proceeds not only benefit the animals, but a portion of the bike rides proceeds will benefit military support organization Fisher House to continue their good work. Parking and admission to the day's many events is free. However, donations are always welcome.

"This year's Bark event has something for everyone, not just pet lovers. We're planning car events, plenty of vendors and, of course, great food. We hope to have a great day of free family fun. Even if you don't have a pet, you can still enjoy yourself," said Hope Benson-Simmons, head of Laura's Hope Rescue. Mrs. Simmons runs Laura's Hope Rescue out of her Susquehanna County home and houses an average of 25 animals per month.

More than 15 animal shelters/rescues will be present at the event, bringing along homeless pets searching for the right family.

"Animal overpopulation is a huge problem in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We really want to make sure that we find safe and loving homes for these animals and the Bark event gives us a great platform to reach thousands of potential homes," said Krista Stark, Laura's Hope Rescue fund raiser coordinator.

The highlight of the day will be a one-hour presentation by Sarah Hodgson, a popular author, television personality and animal advocate. Ms. Hodgson has been featured on Animal Planet, ABC, CNN and Fox networks, bringing her unique pet perspective to homes across America for more than 25 years. She is also the author of nine best-selling dog training manuals. Following her interactive presentation, Ms. Hodgson will be available for questions throughout the day.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their pets along for the many animal-focused activities. Brave owners can enter their pets in the Pet Costume Contest, while those looking to tire their "furry kids" out can send them through the Pet Obstacle Course. We will also be offering massages for animals who find themselves stressed out by life.

Other events will include a motorcycle ride from the Elk Mountain VFW in Lenox to Nay Aug Park, a Memorial Walk remembering Ross Ian Mackie and a classic Car Show. More than 50 vendors have already signed up, peddling everything from dog treats to candles. A wonderful selection of food vendors will also be present, including local vegan cafe Eden.

"We have a beautiful location in a great city and our schedule is full of things to do. I really encourage people to come out. You never know, you could go home with a car show trophy, some home decor, or maybe even prospects on a new member of the family," Benson said.

For more information, please visit www.barkinthepark.co or call 570.280.2083.
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