Oglesby celebrates opening of Starved Rock Dog Park with Bark in the Park event

Several vendors displayed business designed for dogs

Zeke the Wonderdog part of America’s Best Frisbee Dogs shows catches a frisbee mid-air during Saturday's Bark in the Park.

Janeeen Mennie of Granville, combined her love of baking and for her dog, Gucci, into a successful business by creating natural, healthy human-grade treats for pups.

“Some of the treats are good enough for me to eat,” she said.

Gucci was diabetic and the inspiration behind the business. Mennie said natural ingredients are important for the well-being of dogs.

“I’ve made mistakes over the years,” she said. “Gucci used to love hot dogs, but if I could take that back before I realized what I was feeding her ... But, we all learn.”

Mennie was one of several vendors at Bark in the Park on Saturday at LeHigh Park in Oglesby, an event all about dogs, featuring vendors, photo opportunities and demonstrations.

Residents from all around the Illinois Valley came out with their four-legged friends to take part in the inaugural event.

City Clerk Becky Clinard said it was nice to see the variety of people of all ages come out to support and be a part of the event.

“We just opened Starved Rock Dog Park, so we wanted to showcase that and bring people together,” she said. “It worked great.”

Oglesby Administrative Assistant and event coordinator Jacqueline Smith said the donation from the event aimed to raise money to buy agility equipment for the park.

“Hopefully by next year that’s full of equipment for the dogs,” she said. “And people can come to the event over at Lehigh and then take their dogs to the park across the street.”

Laura Loch, owner of Loch Countryside Kennel, said she came to the event to give back to the community that has given so much to her over the 13 years she’s been in business, giving out her own goodie bags to attendees.

“I’m just very grateful to the Illinois Valley for their loyalty to me,” she said. “It’s been going really well. I think this is a great event.”

Heather Lehr of Utica started her doggie bandana business during COVID after she got a puppy and started making him bandanas.

“We kept getting a lot of compliments about him, so I decided to sell them online,” she said. “They were kind of a hit.”

Lehr said she was very impressed with Bark in the Park as it was extremely organized for a first-time event and she would definitely return next year.

“I just love seeing all the dogs,” she said.

Attendees had the opportunity to witness Zeke the Wonderdog, a fixture at Michigan State University halftime shows as he flies through the air to catch frisbees as a part of America’s Best Frisbee Dogs shows,

The event featured a K-9 search and rescue demonstration, a pet photographer, mobile grooming unit, The Dog House, Tropical Sno and city dog tags were available for purchase.

Have a Question about this article?