Pets and their owners have a ‘howling’ good time at NewBark PawLooza
Managing News Editor
On Saturday, the City of Newark held its fifth annual NewBark PawLooza. Dog owners and dog lovers alike gathered at Handloff park with their furry friends in tow to enjoy an afternoon of pet-friendly fun.
The afternoon was filled with competitions for the tiniest dog, best smile and best costume. There was also a talent competition, costume contest, carved ‘pup-kin’ showcase, as well as a demonstration made by the Newark Police Department’s K9 unit.
Sharon Bruen, the recreation supervisor for community events in the City of Newark, assisted in the organization of the event. With her dog Zoya in tow, she explained why the NewBark Pawlooza has become an anticipated event for the community.
“It’s just to get dog lovers in the area together to show off their dogs a little bit, to meet other dog owners and to connect with businesses that are interested in dogs,” Bruen said.
Surrounding the park were vendors from various local businesses and organizations. Crystal Litteral runs A Buddy for Life, a foster-based rescue that provides shelter pets with foster homes until they can be formally adopted. Litteral set up a stall at the event this year, claiming that she’s had success finding homes for these pets at the NewBark Palooza in years past.
“We have two dogs here up for adoption, Buffy and Biff,” Litteral said. “They’ve been meeting and greeting people.”
Radio station WXCY has emceed the event for the past five years. Lauryn Beam, a promotion assistant for the station, emceed the event for her first time this year.
“My favorite thing today was just getting to see all the dogs,” Beam said. “They were just so fun and friendly. There’s no fights and it was just fun playing with all the animals.”
As the afternoon went on, Beam said she noticed that NewBark PawLooza provided a safe space for dogs to enjoy themselves beyond their normal fences.
“Parents and other dog owners can just come to the park and they don’t have to worry about dogs going after each other, or like dogs being fenced in anywhere.” Beam said. “They have open room and can be on their leashes and still have fun.”
Kimberly Smith, a Newark resident, attended the event with her two dogs, Bella and Lily, dressed respectively as a Can-Can dancer and a cowgirl. She explained that the event created an important opportunity for her to bond with her dogs.
“It just to show our support towards the dogs,” Smith said. “It’s a human thing that we like to do with [them].”