Furry friends get outside for Pelham’s annual Paws in the Park

Published 4:07 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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By RACHEL RAIFORD | Staff Writer 

PELHAM – It was a warm, sunny day as Pelham residents walked their pups into Pelham City Park for the return of Paws in the Park on Sunday, April 14. 

This was the fourth year for Paws in the park, a fur and family-friendly event that benefits the Pelham Pet Pantry. While the event was free, attendees were encouraged to bring a donation of dog or cat food to support the Alabama Pet Pantry. 

Pelham Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Alicia Walters played a large part in planning the event. 

“This has been our largest event to date,” Walters said. “We had over 30 vendors, which were pet or dog related, as well as community organizations.” 

The pet pantry is a local non-profit organization that offers free food to pet owners and families that are in need. At the event, the pet pantry had more than 100 dog beds to give away to anyone who donated pet food to the organization, which were all gone by the end of the event. 

“They (the Alabama Pet Pantry) were instrumental in wanting to start this event,” Walters said. “They helped get the idea of Paws in the Park off the ground.”

Walters said the event saw an increase in attendance this year, with an estimated 700 to 800 people at the park from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Pelham Parks and Recreation also worked closely with Shelby Humane Society during the event. Shelby Humane offered discounted vaccinations and microchipping throughout the duration of Paws in the Park, with more than 200 pets going home vaccinated. 

“They were busy and had a lot of happy pet owners at the vaccination tent,” Walters said. “We vaccinated more this year than last, which is amazing.” 

The Pelham Police Department also attended the event with their K-9 units. The officers and K-9s demonstrated some of the services that the bomb and drug dogs do for the community. 

Bama Air Dogs made an appearance at the event with a special show of its canines in canine disc entertainment. 

While Walters played a key role in the planning of Paws in the Park, she spoke in high regard of all of the Parks and Recreation team. 

“We could not do the event without all of our team,” Walters said. “Our maintenance got the field and park ready prior to the event, and we had most of our full-time and part-time staff working as well as cleaning up after the event. It would not have been successful without them.”

Those interested in learning more about Paws in the Park and future Pelham Parks and Recreation events may visit Pelhamalabama.gov/902/Parks-Recreation.