Pet Helpers hosts 3rd annual “Bark in the Park” 5k run, walk and festival fundraiser

Published by the Daily Athenaeum, April 19, 2017

Pet lovers are invited to have a howl of a time over the weekend with a ruff 5k run and a pawsome festival.

This Saturday, April 22, the third annual Bark in the Park 5k run, walk and festival will be hosted by Pet Helpers, Inc. at Morgantown’s Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park. The timed race is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., while the Bark in the Park Festival along with the timed 5k run or walk with canine companions starts at 10 a.m.

Pet Helpers is a non-profit located in Fairmont, WV. As it is without a facility, all animals taken in by the organization reside in foster homes.

Many of the pets come from kill shelters or are taken from the public in an effort to prevent them from being taken to a kill shelter.

The organization offers educational programs with area schools and local public spay and neuter assistance with grant funding.

All funding for these programs comes from donations, adoption fees and fundraisers, including the annual Bark in the Park.

Diana Critchfield, an employee at Pet Helpers, said in 2016 the organization had 643 adoptions. However, its expenses included $178,000 in vet bills, $12,000 for food and miscellaneous supplies with total expenses at $211,000.

“We currently have extraordinary expense dogs, one requiring ongoing physical therapy and one requiring a very expensive food and liver supplement,” Critchfield said.

Other expenses include vans, vehicle and liability insurance, maintenance, gas and phones for the organization.

Registration for the Bark in the Park 5K opens at 7 a.m. on Saturday. Attendees can register online at or on site for $25. All proceeds from the walk go toward funding Pet Helpers.