The playful sound of paws on the ground and the barking of dogs dressed as dinosaurs, princesses and superheroes competing for the best Halloween costume echoed throughout the Newton Center Thursday afternoon.
The chorus of dogs goes back to a crowded restaurant in Baramor, which hosted Jr’s Barktoberfest, a philanthropic event in aid of canine charities. Baramor encouraged guests to dress up their pets for a costume contest, enter a raffle and enjoy his menu items.
Although most of the humans present were not in costume, the puppies brightened up the cool, gray afternoon. They were wagging their tails and jumping in excitement. One of them even nibbled a person in a friendly way.
The humans, however, matched the energy of the dogs, talking to each other, tasting wine and beer, and ordering American classics from Baramor’s menu.
“I’ve been here for a few years,” said participant David Proia. “We love decorating and adding costumes for the dog. It’s such a great event to hold and the cause is so great.
Lauren Barbo, the founder of the nonprofit Jr’s Paws For a Cause, explained the organization behind the event.
“We are a sterilization and volunteer outreach program in the Dominican Republic,” Barbo said. “We go down with all our medical supplies [and] perform spaying and other medical procedures to teach animal welfare.
Barbo said she always recruits a local rescue to have adoptable dogs at events hosted by the nonprofit. The Shultz Guesthousean animal shelter, brought dogs to Thursday’s event.
A black lab named Shadow greeted attendees with his cuddly and cheerful personality. Michelle Ratner, a volunteer at the Shultz guesthouse, latched onto Shadow, who wagged her tail among furry friends dressed as dinosaurs and superheroes. The shelter introduced each dog to the attendees, drawing waves of applause.
Ratner said the shelter started as a small rescue about 14 years ago. All of the dogs the shelter rescues are from Tennessee, according to Ratner.
Arpit Patel, the owner of Baramor, wanted to focus fundraising efforts on furry friends bringing the Newton community together. It’s a success, he says. The event raised $8,000 for Shultz Guest House, Project Samana – which provides veterinary care in the Caribbean – and Kyle’s Legacy, a nonprofit that fights canine cancer.
“Guests were eager to support charities and have a fun night out with their costumed puppies,” Patel said.
The outdoor patio was ideal for the community to come together and draw attention to larger issues surrounding dogs such as canine cancer research, according to Barbo.
“My main mission is to think globally [and] act locally,” Barbo said. “Involving the local community and local businesses will help think about a larger cause.”
People sat on the patio enjoying Baramor’s menu as they waited for the winner of the costume contest to be announced.
As for future dog-focused events and fundraisers, Baramor intends to continue its efforts to bring the community together to support the cause, according to Patel.
“Our furry friends and family members are often excluded from events because many restaurants don’t allow pets,” Patel said. “We want to change that and continuing with outdoor dining will allow us to keep pushing things forward.”