Contest fetches funds for Bark Park

Golden retriever is named top dog at event that helps Bark Park, which doesn't receive city funding.

November 11, 2006|By Amanda Pennington

COSTA MESA — This year went to the dogs at the Costa Mesa Bark Park with its dog of the year contest Saturday, when it named golden retriever Miss Ginger its grand prize winner.

Bark Park volunteers thought it only appropriate that this year they name one such dog in celebration of this year being the Year of the Dog on the Chinese calendar. The contest was part of the park's winter fundraiser, Howl-i-days 2006.

The park relies solely on donations to keep it running, a fact volunteers say many people who frequent the grounds don't realize.


"The majority of people think we're paid for by the city, but it's not the case" said volunteer Patt Bell, who was selling personalized holiday cards. "We're completely self-supported, and it's absolutely essential people know that."

Huntington Beach resident Lisa Baker, Miss Ginger's handler, understands the importance of continually donating and participating in fundraisers for the park, which she uses often.

The professional dog trainer, who won a weekend in Big Bear for Miss Ginger being top dog, stressed the importance of giving or volunteering at the park because it is essential to socializing dogs and acclimating them to people and other animals.

"It's extremely important, I can't even express in words how important it is to donate," Baker said while petting the 3-year-old retriever. "It's used to keep the park going, to keep the grass alive and put in a water fountain."

Keeping the grass alive is exactly what volunteers hope proceeds from Saturday's fundraiser will help maintain.

Bark Park Foundation President Patricia Allen said next spring she hopes the foundation will be able to replace the grass, which on Saturday seemed to be fading to brown.

It's expensive to maintain the park, she said. Little-known costs that some may take for granted add up at the end of the year, she said.

The park goes through 300,000 poop bags every year at a cost of $3,000 to $4,000. Each quarter area of landscaping can cost close to $50,000, Allen said, holding her dog as he fell asleep in her arms.

Bill Holiday helped organize the event and said he got involved, like many others, for his dog, Annie.

"My pet is the best pet of the century," Holiday said proudly.

But the park isn't just for dogs and their owners.

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