Dogs and humans come together for a Bark in the Park


Getting in shape is doggone hard, especially when you can’t find the motivation or accountability to get off the couch. This winter, Mansfield Parks & Recreation has the perfect solution…one that’s not only good for your own health, but also helps out a paws-itively great cause. The department is teaming up with Mansfield Animal Care & Control for Barks & Rec, a unique new program that combines two city departments for fun classes and events.


Barks & Rec logo

First up this February is Barks & Rec Running Club, a program designed to get the most out-of-shape athletes off the couch and ready to complete a 5k fun run in just six weeks. Participants will run together with an instructor each Saturday morning and complete two other workouts on their own during the week. The twist on this class, however, is that the runners won’t be alone. Each participant is paired with a dog from the Mansfield animal shelter for the weekly runs so our four-legged friends get much needed exercise and runners get the added motivation to show up.

“We’re so excited to team up with Parks & Rec for this program,” said Animal Control Manager Lori Strittmatter. “Our dogs love any chance they can get to be outside, run around and interact with people. And of course, if a participant happens to fall in love with their running partner and choose to adopt them, that would just be the icing on the cake.”

Adoptions within the program will be offered at a discounted rate, and a portion of the $40 registration fee for the course will be given to the shelter as a donation.

At the end of the six weeks, participants and the public are invited to participate in the Barks and Rec 5k, Mansfield’s first doggy fun run, on Saturday, March 24, at Katherine Rose Memorial Park.  The event is expected to be packed with puppers and their humans to support Mansfield Animal Care & Control. Following the race, participants are invited to enjoy activities and vendors tailored specifically to dogs and their owners.

Entry to the race is $20 for each runner and their pet and includes a T-shirt for the human and a bandana for the dog. The 5K entry fee is included in the registration for the Barks & Rec Running Club.  Registration is limited and must be confirmed in advance to allow for accurate dog counts. More information can be found at


Running Club

Six-week session starts Feb. 10; weekly runs with shelter dogs


Dog & Partner Fun Run at Rose Park  March 24; open to the public and  benefits Mansfield Animal Care & Control


Bark in the Park

Day-long festival following 5k (10am-2pm) with games, food and activities for dogs & people


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