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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Weiner Dog Race Races Back to Bark in the Park 

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Weiner Dog Race Races Back to Bark in the Park

by James Coulter

Gage the mini dachshund was so excited to participate in the wiener dog race that he prematurely bolted from the starting line all the way to finish before the race even started–twice! So it’s no surprise that the third time around, he won the race when it started for real.

His owner, Valerie Evans, absolutely loves him. She purchased him from an old lady in Tampa, where he was born on Christmas Eve in 2017. He loves to eat his treats, nuzzle other people’s necks, and even headbutt them in the face. For that reason, he’s called their “little football.”

Considering the little guy’s vim and vigor, Evans was not the least bit surprised that he won the race. As for their visit to Bark in the Park that Friday, not only was it their first time at the event, but their first time in Winter Haven. Overall, she loved the event and loved how her little Gage won the race.

“It is awesome,” Evans said. “I love it. Everybody has been super sweet. It is a great small event. We love it.”

Main Street Winter Haven celebrated its annual Bark in the Park on Friday. Hosted in Central Park, the annual pet event allowed residents and their favorite furry friends to enjoy an evening of fun with food trucks, vendors, and other activities including a K9 demonstration by the Winter Haven Police Department. The big event, of course, was the Weiner Dog Race, where several small doggies raced across the lawn on their tiny feet for a chance to win first place.

Unfortunately, last year’s event was rained out and the annual race was unable to be hosted. However, this year’s event experienced overall great weather with sunny cloudless skies, all of which drew out large crowds of pet owners and their pets. By far, the best part of the evening was the number of rescue pets, explained Bailey McDaniel.

McDaniel has high expectations for the future moving forward. With next year’s event, she hopes to “change it up a little bit” with more demonstrations and interactive features. Overall, she felt this year’s event was phenomenal.

“I think it exceeded our expectations,” she said. “I think it has been packed, and the vendors had great success. Winter Haven just loves their dogs. They come from all over to be with their favorite member of their family.”

The Humane Society, as always, attended that evening to set up their rescue animals for adoption. They managed to adopt three to four pets that evening, said Tamara Santiago, Shelter Manager. They love attending the event, as it offers them such a prime opportunity to get their pets adopted.

“We have a lot of success with our adoptees here,” she said. “We adopted three already. [We love seeing] all the animals [and] everyone coming together.”

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