The Halloween spirit went to the dogs Saturday, as about 20 canines of various size, color and breed participated in the fifth annual Bark in the Park fundraiser event.

The Halloween spirit went to the dogs Saturday, as about 20 canines of various size, color and breed participated in the fifth annual Bark in the Park fundraiser event.
Bark in the Park is hosted annually by Canine Companions for Independence and provides an opportunity for dog owners and their pets to practice social skills in a public environment, while having fun, competing and raising money for the organization. A total of $240 was raised at Bark in the Park and will be combined with an additional $55 raised during a dog pool party held several weeks ago.
Dawn Ramsey, event coordinator, said the turnout and total raised were “not bad, considering we postponed it.” The event had been rescheduled due to rainfall Oct. 23.
In addition to the costume contests for small, medium and large breed dogs, there were competitions for the longest tail, cutest and ugliest dogs, best kisser and best trick and a game of musical sit, which follows the same rules as musical chairs without the chairs. Prizes for the contests varied between ribbons, FURminators, dog toys and gift baskets.
Some pet owners joined in the fun with their dogs by dressing in similar costumes. An additional prize was awarded to dog and owner in that contest.
In the small dog category, the costume contestants included a Boomer Sooner, a bride and groom, a pirate, an angel, a 1950s poodle skirt dancer, a bumble bee, a jack-o’-lantern and a soldier in a tank. The winners of that contest were the jack-o’-lantern, third place; the bride and groom pair, second place; and the soldier in the tank, first place.
Ramsey said judges chose the dog in the jack-o’-lantern costume as one of the top three because “he was abused as a pup and is doing really good, considering this is his first public outing.”
Aimee Deitz, Shawnee, is the owner of the first place pooch, Brownie. She said the idea for the costume was her husband’s, as he was formerly enlisted in the military.
Deitz said it took about seven hours to create the tank and the military clothing Brownie wore was from Deitz’ daughter’s Build-a-Bear.
In the medium-sized dog costume contest, a bat, clown, hot dog and Tecumseh Savage competed.
Winners for that contest were the bat, third; the hot dog, second; and the Tecumseh Savage, first place.
Matthew Young, a Tecumseh High School sophomore, and his mother Ronda Young, a self-proclaimed “huge fan of the Savages,” said the costume was primarily made from Savage memorabilia but that the pair made a collar for Little Red, a dachshund, the night before the contest. Last year, Little Red competed as a devil and won third place.
Later in the fundraiser, Young and Red won second place in the combined dog and owner costume contest. In addition to Young and Red, were the 1950s poodle skirt dancer and owner; a dog and owner dressed in stripes; the devil and angel pair and owner; the Boomer Sooners dog and owner; the bride and groom, with the owner dressed as a preacher; and a dragon dog with a knight and princess as co-owners.
Four contestants in that competition received a prize. Fourth place went to the devil and angel, with the owner dressed as a devil; third place was awarded to the 1950s attire pair; second went to the Tecumseh Savages; and first place winners were the dragon, knight and princess.
“We knew they were going to be a knight and princess, so we decided to make them all go together,” Catherine McKenna, Tecumseh, said of her children Caleb Stripling, 8, and Abigail Sharpley, 3, and dog, Birdie. “We made the costume out of pantyhose and a clothes hanger and spray painted it and the wings. It took about two hours.”
In the large breed contest, costumes included a Shawnee cheerleader, a dog on vacation, a monkey, a dragon and a clown with a bright wig. Third place went to the monkey; second was awarded to the cheerleader; and the first place winner was the clown — a 6-month-old Saint Bernard named Chloe.
“She’s so goofy, I thought she’d make a good clown,” Susan Brown, Shawnee, said of Chloe.
In the best trick contest, six dogs showed various skills they have learned. Buffy showed she can shake hands, give a paw and kiss; Sterling “said please” and left a treat until allowed to retrieve it; Max looped his owner’s legs as she sat with them bent at the knees; Little Red opened his cage and stayed until his owner allowed him to emerge with a fetched ball; Jackie put her paws together to “say prayers”; and Little boy performed a variety of obedience tricks.
Little Boy is a 14-month-old small breed dog owned by JoAnn Cox, Shawnee, who said she has worked with him since he was a few months old.
Jackie’s owner, Susan Lipinski, Shawnee, said she was holding her 13-year-old Pomeranian one day and noticed she kept putting her paws together as if she were praying. Since that time, Lipinski has taught Jackie to “pray” on command.
For more information about CCI, e-mail Ramsey at or call 275-3641.