Dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds were panting in the sun Saturday at the Anti-Cruelty Society’s 25th annual “Bark in the Park,” hosted outside Soldier Field.
Starting with a morning walk on the lakefront and featuring tents with dog massages, free grooming and an agility course, the fundraiser attracted a few thousand people and pups.
Click through the gallery to meet some of Chicago’s dogs (hold the sport peppers):
- Dynasty, a 9-year-old Great Dane, had to stay hydrated in Saturday’s heat. Dynasty sometimes gets anxiety when she loses sight of her parents, but she loved the morning walk at Bark in the Park. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- This year was Kody’s third time at Bark in the Park. A 7-year-old Papillion, Kody’s favorite part of the day was taking pictures with volunteers dressed as Pikachu and Captain America. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Boris Von Drool -- a 2-year-old, 225 lbs. English Mastiff from Andersonville -- enjoyed her first time at Bark in the Park by drooling on new friends. Her “turn-ons” are bananas and peanut butter. Follow her on instagram @borisvondrool. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Dogs of all shapes and sizes came through the Anti-Cruelty Society’s biggest annual fundraiser, Bark in the Park at Soldier Field May 18. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Grover is an excited 10-month-old pitbull mix who loved Bark in the Park’s 2.5 mile morning walk. His mom was surprised that Grover was calm enough to stay “in his own lane” on the Lake Shore trail. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Three-year-old Saint Bernard Oakley enjoyed her first time at Bark in the Park. Her mom, Megan Peters Jovic, volunteers with the Anti-Cruelty Society walking dogs and helping the adoption center at their River North location. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Nine-year-old Blondie Marino was possibly the only Chinese Crested dog at Bark in the Park. She was rescued from Chicago Canine Rescue six years ago and her favorite part of Saturday’s event was the agility course. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Bark in the Park’s festivities didn’t wear out Irish Wolfhound, Lenny. The 1-year-old from Joliet was still ready to play after a morning of running around. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- A tech from Sydnee’s Pet Grooming helps trim dogs’ nails in their tent at Bark in the Park May 18. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- A massage therapy student from Canis Bodyworks coaxes and massages dogs in a tent at Bark in the Park. Denise Theobald, owner of Canis Bodyworks, said that the therapists will likely do more than 250 massages during the May 18 event at Soldier Field, helping dogs recover from the morning’s long walk. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Ruffy, a five-year-old Pomeranian from Chicago’s West Side, was adopted from a shelter where mom Yaree Johnson said she had been rescued from a puppy mill. Johnson carried Ruffy after it seemed she was intimidated by all the other dogs at Bark in the Park. Cherish Richmond (front), 5, was excited to take Ruffy through the agility course. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Tunnu (left), a 2-year-old blind Samoyed, came to Bark in the Park with his best friend, Penelope (right), who is a 3-year-old pit bull mix. The canine comrades live across the street from each other in the South Loop. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Hunter and Patron are Chihuahua brothers from Gage Park who enjoyed rolling around in the grass and meeting other dogs at Bark in the Park. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Tucker, a dotson-corgi mix, liked watching the other dogs run through the agility course and dreaming of his day as a professional dog athlete. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
- Missing a leg didn’t keep from Derby, a 9-year-old Black lab, from running around with the other dogs at Soldier Field Saturday. Derby especially loved the dog massage. Savanna Eadens/Sun-Times
- The Chicago Cubs biggest (Pitbull) fan, Chip, is one and a half years young. His favorite part of Bark in the Park is the treats. Savannah Eadens/Sun-Times
Ticket proceeds went to the operating budget of the River North shelter at 169 W. Grand Ave., which provides food, shelter, medical care and second chances for thousands of animals.
More than 200 volunteers kept things running smoothly Saturday, providing treats and gallons of water to keep the canines nourished on one of the warmest days yet this spring.
“Celebrity dogs” like Sporty — a golden retriever from River North with more than 60,000 followers on Instagram — were featured at a meet-and-greet, but the event attracted dogs as diverse as some of the causes their owners say they represent.
A 10-month-old, 100 lbs. American bully named Zeke was licking other pups as his dog mom Von Swietzer explained that many people cross the street in fear when they see him approaching on the sidewalk.
“We try to be a proud representative of large breed and pit bull mix dogs because they do have a bad rep,” Swietzer said. “Zeke is a cuddler.”
Last year, when Plainfield resident Carla Altum adopted Chi Chi Rodriguez, she didn’t expect him to live long. The 15-year-old Chihuahua has no teeth and a broken jaw, but he’s thriving, Altum said.
“He loves to go out and meet people, and he’s been such an advocate for senior dog adoption,” said Altum, who met Chi Chi while working in pet hospice. “You just never know how long a dog is going to live if it is loved.”