Bark in the Park—Healthy Activities for Pets and People
Blog post created by Sam Cryer, Greenhill Humane Society volunteer
Greenhill’s 28th Annual Bark in the Park is back, and it will be virtual! Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bark in the Park meant thousands of dogs and their people would gather at Alton Baker Park for a run/walk in celebration for the animals of Lane County. This year, as a virtual event, we are encouraging participants to enjoy connecting with their pets – dogs, cats, guinea pigs, llamas, whatever until May 16! It is FREE to participate and a fun way to connect with your pets!
Of course, this event is also a fundraiser for the animals. We are encouraging you to spread the word & get pledges in order to help the animals of Greenhill and the people who love them. Every dollar you raise makes a lifesaving difference for over 3,600 animals in need each year. Your participation makes it possible for us to provide safe shelter, medical care, rescue and rehabilitation, protection from cruelty and neglect, and so much more.
Since most of us have been cooped up inside for a while now, and spring is just around the corner, it’s the perfect time for you and your pets to try out some fun activities. Whether you’re hoping to get outside, be more active, or learn something new, there are lots of ways you and your pet can stay healthy! Here are just a few ideas of ways you can join us for Greenhill’s Bark in the Park event this year!
Walking—This may be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of healthy activities you can do with or without a pet. Dogs especially love to explore new hiking trails or just get some fresh air around the neighborhood.
Toys—Dogs love chasing after Frisbees and balls, while cats enjoy mental stimulation from wand toys. Did you know many other animals enjoy toys as well? Rabbits enjoy safe woods to chew on and plastic baby keys they can toss around, guinea pigs love to run through tunnels, and hamsters are all about clocking miles on their wheels. When choosing a toy for your pet, make sure it’s well-constructed and made of pet-safe materials.
Tricks—Mental health is just as important and physical health, and learning new tricks is great for keeping your pets’ mind active. It’s also a great way to spend time and bond with each other. You may think only dogs can learn tricks, but you can also teach fun skills like high-five to your cat or rabbit. Many animals respond especially well to clicker training. You can get clickers inexpensively online or in pet stores, and they’re easy for both you and your pet to figure out.
Treats—Everybody loves treats! Keep things interesting for your pet by using treats to reward them for good behavior or tricks, or by making your pet do some work to access their treats. Hide some yummy tidbits around the house for your dog to sniff out, or tuck some treats into a box filled with shredded paper or hay for your guinea pig to find.
Spa Day—Good grooming is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Do some research on nail-trimming or how to bathe and groom your pet, and then treat them to a spa day. Not all animals love this, so be sure to have some healthy treats on hand to reward them! Your pet will look great—plus, learning these skills yourself can save you some money.
Reading with Pets— This is a great activity that allows kids to practice their reading skills in a fun environment—it’s also fun for adults to read aloud to their pets! Spending time with you and hearing your voice is something many pets enjoy.
Outdoor Time—There’s nothing like fresh air and sunshine to help you feel good. Dogs aren’t the only ones who need time outdoors. You can also set up a playpen in the grass for rabbits or guinea pigs. (Make sure the grass is free of weed killers or pesticides, and be sure to provide shade so your pet doesn’t overheat.) Supervised playtime outside is a great way to give pets some physical activity and mental stimulation all at the same time.
There are tons of way you and your pet can have fun and stay healthy at the same time. Learn more and sign up here for our Bark in the Park event, and follow Greenhill on social media for more ideas on healthy activities that can help you, your pets, and the homeless animals in our community! Share with us how you and your pet participate in Bark in the Park!