IT’S TIME TO STRUT YOUR MUTT By Patricia Smillie-Scavelli

IT’S TIME TO STRUT YOUR MUTT

By Patricia Smillie-Scavelli

IT’S TIME TO STRUT YOUR MUTT By Patricia Smillie-Scavelli

On Sunday, October 20, the Friends of the Monmouth County Park System will be holding their Annual Doggie Costume Contest and Pet Fair, sponsored by Garden State Veterinary Specialists. This annual event is an opportunity to bring your dog to Thompson Park dressed in a Halloween costume and possibly win a prize in one of several categories, including the Best Canine/Human Combo, Most Original, Scariest, Funniest, and Prettiest. Winners in each category will be selected during the pet parades held at 12:00 noon and 3:00 p.m. Pet product vendors will be offering unique items for your pet and the pet lover in all of us during the Pet Fair, which runs from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Pet Fair is a great experience for true animal lovers. You can take your dog to the park, enjoy the Pet Fair with them, and even dress up for Halloween. While enjoying your day, you and your dog can support the Monmouth County Park System, including the off-leash dog areas. The importance of off-leash dog areas in an urban environment has been established in research studies. A community which has an off-leash dog area provides a place for both dogs and humans to socialize with each other. Play is an important activity for a dog and is pretty important for humans, as well. Having a designated space for dogs and their owners reduces the likelihood that dogs will be let loose in other areas where they could adversely affect the rights of other park users. Dogs often help people break the ice, getting people who share similar interests to socialize while exercising their dogs. The opportunity to socialize builds a sense of community, which benefits everyone.

The Monmouth County Park System has designated two off-leash dog areas for Monmouth County, one located in Thompson Park on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft and a second one at the Wolf Hill Recreation Area in Oceanport. The Thompson Park location offers a 1.5-acre space for larger dogs and a ¼-acre “small dog area.” This location offers water to both humans and canines. At the Wolf Hill Recreation Area, there are concrete patios with sheltered picnic tables. Both off-leash dog areas are open seven days a week during regular park hours.

Every dollar raised during the October 20 event goes to the Friends of the Parks and supports the programs and facilities of the Monmouth County Park System that made the off-leash recreation areas for dogs possible. We urge everyone to come out and support this event. Bring your dog on a leash and enjoy the day in the park together while you browse among the pet-related displays at the Pet Fair or participate in the Costume Contest. If you would like to enter your dog (or you and your dog) in the contest, you can register ahead of time or at the fair. For more information on the event, call (732) 975-9735 or visit the website at www.friendsofmonmouthcountyparks.com. Stop by the Garden State Veterinary Specialists booth at the Pet Fair and learn more about veterinary specialty services that are available in your community. See you at the fair!

IT’S TIME TO STRUT YOUR MUTT By Patricia Smillie-Scavelli