2007-05-18 / Community

'Dog Day Afternoon' Comes To The Beach

The Allied Rockaway Foundation for Animal Recreation and Fitness (ARF-ARF) is having a big day on Saturday, May 19, with the presentation of the second annual "It's My Bark Day" in Rockaway. ARF-ARF has partnered with NYC Parks and Recreation to bring a day of fun and excitement to everyone, with special inducements to pets and their owners.

The event is scheduled to take place between noon and 4 p.m. on Shore Front Parkway between Beach 98 and Beach 101 Streets, with activities going on both on the boardwalk and in front of it. Bark Day will go on "Rain or Shine" but with so many fun outdoor activities on deck, event planners are obviously hoping for fair weather.

Joining the Parks Department and ARF-ARF will be the ASPCA offering free or low cost neutering and vaccinations. It is strongly advised that pet owners who have not yet had their animals spayed or neutered take advantage of this excellent opportunity. Simply appear at the ASPCA mobile unit which will be parked on Shore Front Parkway and Beach 100 Street at 6:30 a.m. with your pet. If you are receiving any form of public assistance, bring your documentation and the surgery will be done free of charge. If you cannot show proof of financial need, you will be asked to make a $25 donation to the ASPCA. Be sure that your dog or cat does not eat or drink after midnight on Friday. Animals will be ready for pick up at the conclusion of the event.

Another important presence at the event will be the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals which will be providing micro-chipping, the latest and most efficient means of locating lost pets, at very low cost. North Shore Animal League America will also have its mobile adoption unit on hand and will be offering beautiful, healthy puppies, kittens and adult dogs and cats in need of good homes. If you have been thinking of bringing a new best friend into your home, you should definitely come down on "It's My Bark Day" and check it out.

Proceedings will be emceed by John Gilleece of the Rockaway Theatre Company and there will be a live band to entertain the crowd on the boardwalk. Some planned contests for dogs with special talents include an "American Idog" karaoke singing contest, Stupid Pet Tricks, Canine Agility, and the ever-popular Canine Couture Costume contest. Is your precious pooch perhaps a praiseworthy prizewinner? Enter him/her in one of these comical competitions and find out.

James Cosgrove of the RAA will be on hand to sketch canine caricatures. There will be a special raffle for a color portrait of your pet taken by Roger Carreau, also of the RAA. Many fabulous baskets full of items for use by both pampered pets and pampered people will also be raffled off. There will be a canine obedience demonstration by "dog whisperer" Dawn Prentiss of Semper Fido and Q and A's by Dawn and many other animal behavior specialists. Visitors can peruse table after table displaying interesting and informative items and event sponsors will be distributing tons of freebies.

Proceeds from this event will go to ARF-ARF and will be used for the creation and maintenance of Rockaway's first Dog Park. A proposal is in the works to build an off-leash dog park on Shore Front Parkway and Beach 99 Street. ARF-ARF is hoping to test the viability of the site by establishing a temporary dog park for a three month trial period. Should the Department of Parks and Recreation deem the temporary park to be a success, a permanent structure will be created. If not, a new site will be proposed and tested.

For "It's My Bark Day" Rockaway's canines will be permitted to stroll on the boardwalk, provided they are leashed and bring a well-behaved and responsible human to clean up after them, if the need arises. Dogs are also invited to interact off-leash on Beach 99 Street in the proposed site, which will be enclosed with temporary fencing (provided by the Parks Department) provided each dog brings a well-behaved and responsible human to control and clean up after him or her.

It's My Bark Day is expected to be a "Howling Success" for both dogs and dog lovers. Don't miss it!

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