Terrie Vasilopoulos and her husband, Jonathan Freedman, brought their dog, Callie, to McKechnie Field on Sunday. It was the black Labrador’s first time at a baseball game.
“It’s been great,” said Vasilopoulos, who with Freedman was visiting Manatee County from Gainesville. “She was sitting in the seat, really intrigued by the game. All the dogs seem really well behaved.”
Vasilopoulos and Freedman were two of many who brought their dogs to the Bark in the Park event sponsored by ABC 7. With a purchase of a $2 Bark Badge, dogs were admitted to two games Sunday, including a resumption of play between the Bradenton Marauders and the Daytona Tortugas after the game was suspected in the first inning Friday night because of torrential rain.
I think it’s perfect. I think people like being able to bring their pets with them, so they don’t have to leave them alone and especially giving the pets their own seats so it gives enough room to spread out.
Terrie Vasilopoulos, Gainesville resident
Proceeds from the Bark Badges go to the Humane Society of Manatee County, which had a table set up with information on adopting pets.
“I think it’s perfect,” Vasilopoulos said of the event. “I think people like being able to bring their pets with them, so they don’t have to leave them alone and especially giving the pets their own seats so it gives enough room to spread out.”
Emmett Dykes, 61, was hesitant at one point to bring his dog, Finnigan, to Bark in the Park.
“This is his first time at a ball game,” the West Bradenton resident said early Sunday afternoon. “I was really kind of leery at first, but he’s behaved himself very well.”
Finnigan, a dachshund/Jack Russell mix, stood quietly by Dykes’ feet with his tongue all the way out.
Several people representing the Humane Society of Manatee County had a table set up nearby. A few adoptable dogs were brought to the event, including Fletcher, an energetic 3 1/2-year-old beagle mix.
“Each game, we bring anywhere from four to seven adoptable animals. They’re always dogs,” said Jessica Simmons, volunteer coordinator with the Humane Society of Manatee County. “We do off-site adoptions, so our hope every time we come is to get at least one animal a home. We get a lot of interest because this is the community that already loves animals coming to the games so we can catch people that may be looking for a second dog... and they just wander by and they fall in love.”
Simmons said two dogs have been adopted already from the times the organization has set up at McKechnie Field.
We do off-site adoptions, so our hope every time we come is to get at least one animal a home. We get a lot of interest because this is the community that already loves animals coming to the games.
Jessica Simmons, volunteer coordinator with the Humane Society of Manatee County
Fletcher was restless Sunday as Simmons held onto his leash.
“He’s a super loyal dog. He’s probably one of the most loyal dogs we brought here,” she said as she looked down at Fletcher. “When I walk away, he’ll start barking for me and he’s great with other dogs.”
Josh Miller, of Bradenton, stopped by the Humane Society of Manatee County table with his husband, Adam Beneke. The couple looked at a binder with photos of adoptable pets. Their Jack Russell/pitbull mix, Riley, also wanted to take a look and jumped several times, placing his paws on the edge of the table to see what the fuss was about. He later tried sniffing other dogs passing by, and vice versa.
“We wanted to get our dog out of the house,” Miller said. “He loves it. He loves getting out.”