AKRON  Lock 3 Park went to the dogs May 12 as the Humane Society of Summit County held its annual Bark in the Park fundraiser event.

It was a day of celebration for those furry friends with plenty of fun, events, vendors and, of course, doggie treats. Individuals, teams and virtual walkers solicited donations to support the walk.

The many breeds that were represented at the event brought a human along for the ride, or as their ride. The day raises awareness about the mission of the society and provides an opportunity to work with other animal-related nonprofit organizations. It is about raising funds to help dogs and cats, said Humane Society Director of Development Louise DiLullo, adding that it is the biggest animal family event of the year.

"It is our celebration of pets for people who love their pets," DiLullo said.

The society rescues and rehabilitates abused, abandoned and neglected animals of Summit County and works to place the pets in new homes. The society also investigates instances of animal cruelty and prosecutes when needed.

The day began with the blessing of the animals and then it was off to the races with the dog-friendly one-mile fun run followed by the dog-friendly one-mile pledge walk. The run and walk began on Main Street at Lock 3 and wound around to the Erie Canal Towpath Trail and back to Main Street. 

DiLullo said Humane Society officials believed it would be the biggest dog parade in Akron's history with more than 2,000 people in attendence.

Throughout the day, more than 80 vendors were on hand to show what they had to offer and to give a dog a treat or two. Also, there were food trucks, a beer garden, a children’s activities area, mobile adoption center, dog grooming, games and activities, giveaways, music, a basket raffle, a $1,000 grand prize gift card raffle and more.

An adoptable pet showcase was held, along with dog training, dog and human yoga, an Ohio Disc Dogs presentation and awards were presented for fundraisers and teams. Four lucky animals found new homes, as two dogs and two cats were adopted.

While the Humane Society estimated, after expneses, the total raised from the event was more than $70,000.

"This makes a huge difference to the animals we care for," DiLullo said. "This is made possible through our partnership with the city of Akron, our sponsors and vendors at the event, pledge raisers, and guests." 

All funds go to support the shelter animals and animals in the county that are victims of abuse.

For more information on the Humane Society, visit www.summithumane.org or call 330-487-0333.