Bark in the Park is a ‘treat’ for dog enthusiasts


Kiana George

Young children are invited to play with the dogs at Bark in the Park.

With over 15,000 dog owners, 3,900 pups, and 75 vendors, Bark in the Park boasts the title of the largest dog festival in the U.S.

The dog fest brought together members of the Bay Area canine community on Sept. 21 at William Street Park in Downtown San Jose. From dogs sporting sunglasses to puppies competing to be crowned the best tail-wagger, Bark in the Park 2019 had something for everyone.

“This festival is a nice spot for our puppy to interact with other dogs and for the owners to have a good time,” said Maxwell, a 10-year-old kid who has attended the event twice with his dog, Peaches.

Bark in the Park has been held every third week in September for the past 25 years. Every year, all kind of pups, from teacup designer dogs to enormous Great Danes, mingle and enjoy the festivities alongside their equally diverse owners.

A dog educator and attendee of the event, Michelle Krutz’s life revolves around her beloved pup. Krutz owns a unique breed called the Komondor, which is a large dog with chorded hair that is similar to dreadlocks. Due to experience with this specific breed, she now educates people on how to properly take care of them through her rescue program.

Krutz’s dog, Tule the Komondor, was surrounded by a small crowd of spectators at Bark in the Park. Tule has an Instagram page of his own and is a bit of a celebrity.

“Tule has his own page in the upcoming book, ‘Canine Couture,’ and was recently in a photoshoot in LA,” Krutz said.

The event features demonstrations, food trucks, Kids’ Zone, low-cost vaccinations, and more. All proceeds from the event go towards supporting the San Jose Animal Care Center.

In addition to old favorites like the dog costume and dog/owner look-alike contests, Bark in the Park also introduces new events and booths each year. This year, Cooperhaus K-9, K-9 Rat Pack Barn Hunt, DIY Dog Toy Making, and K-9 Adventures Innovative Urban Dry Mushing made their debut.

Deb Doeltz spends her days training her dog to become a service dog and volunteering as a puppy raiser for Canine Companion for Independence Puppy.

“I taught my dog 30 basic commands and socialized her to get her used to being in public places like this,” Doeltz said.

Whether serving as a furry family member, K-9 police assistant, service animal, or inspiration for a creative business or hobby, pooches proved to play an important role in the lives of the people at Bark in the Park.

Diane Kendrick is the founder of DogTrekker, a dog travel website. Kendrick’s dog had whined for weeks and scratched at a spot on her chest until she went to the doctor, where they found a tumor.

“My dog was my lifesaver because he sniffed out and saved me from the fastest-growing breast cancer my doctor had ever seen,” Kendrick said. “I can’t bear to go anywhere without him.”

For dog lovers wanting more, Corgi Con, an event specifically for Corgi breeds, will be held on Oct. 19 at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The event will feature corgi races and corgi ninja warrior competitions.


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