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Bark at the Park: Annual dog walk and 5K benefits Humane Society

Saturday morning on The Thread consisted of tail wagging, running, walking and barking for the annual HYPE Bark in the Park 5k and dog walk event. 

Sponsored by Thornton & Graham, HYPE or Helping Young Professionals Engage started the event five years ago to raise funds for the Humane Society and have an event for dog lovers to attend. 

“We’ve always been grateful for the turnout at Bark at the Park over the years, but we were really impressed with the numbers this year,” HYPE President Anabeth Ivey said. “I think the event itself is becoming more well-known and supported by the community, the Humane Society did a great job helping us spread the word, and I really think a lot of people were genuinely excited to participate in an in-person event for the first time in a while.”

Member engagement board member Leslie Traylor said locals from Hogansville, LaGrange and West Point attended the event. 

“I think it’s finally turning into a yearly event that the community enjoys and expects,” Traylor said. “This was the first year we had a runner that was only four years old, and he was amazing. We also had a handful of people that were from out of town. I’m excited to watch this event grow.” 

HYPE was not only able to raise funds for the Humane Society but showcase adoptable dogs as well. 

“It was truly heart-warming to see so many familiar faces and so many new dog-loving friends,” Ivey said. “With the really questionable weather forecast for Saturday and the obvious impact that COVID makes on people’s willingness to come out to events, we really weren’t sure what to expect. I’m so proud of our community for the great turnout we had and grateful to them for supporting such a great cause.” 

Mark and Julie Huckstep and their Labrador Annie took home the award “Most Like Your Owner.”

Keegan Montgomery and her family, who all dressed up in Jurassic Park attire, won the “Best Dressed” award. 

“What’s really cool about this one is that one of the pups they brought was actually adopted at Bark at the Park last year,” Ivey said. “They also won best dressed last year too.”

In addition to the sponsors this year, ThINC Academy and Get Troup Reading were also in attendance passing out information and gear. LaGrange High School Service Club members helped register runners, dogs and walkers and cheered on the racers during the 5k.

Traylor said they are already gearing up for more networking events for HYPE members as well as community events. 

For more information about HYPE or future events follow the Facebook page at @hypetroup. 

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