It’s called a “Barkathon,” but the creatures participating in this weekend's fund-raiser in Hingham to benefit Scituate’s no-kill animal shelter do a lot more than say “woof,” “ruff,” and “arf.”
“There are dogs there doing tricks, dogs that show up in costume,” said William Hall, the 18-year-old Hingham resident who started the event five years ago.
“We have someone who comes every year, and she always dresses up her dog as ‘the Bat Dog,’” Hall explained.
“We’re always excited to see the Bat Dog,” Hall said.
But, Hall said, he’s more excited to raise money for the shelter that introduced him to his dog -- a lab-terrier mix named Princess Leia – and helps dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, hedgehogs, and other domesticated animals on the South Shore.
The event, which will take place at Bare Cove Park Sunday from 9 am to noon, will offer participants two different walks -- 3K and 5K, depending on what people feel like doing – which both start at the park’s Fort Hill Street entrance.
Participants are asked to make a donation to the shelter, and Hall said the goal for the last five years has been to raise at least $2,000. In its first year, about 40 people turned out, but organizers say this weekend’s event could draw as many as 150.
Hall started the first Barkathon in 2005 to fulfill his freshman-year community service requirement at Boston College High School. The event is a family affair – his uncle and father work on the T-shirts that will be on sale at the event, and his cousin, Carlee Sinton, an eighth grader at Hingham Middle School, devotes a lot of her time as well.
His mother, Gail Hall, said she doesn’t mind working on the event. She said hadn’t realized how great the need for a no-kill shelter on the South Shore was until about six years ago, when a very large, very lost, very gentle dog broke down her screen door, looking for water.
Hall said she couldn’t find his owners, and area officials were too busy that day to help. Finally, someone from the Scituate Animal Shelter agreed to take the dog.
“It was just so sad,” she said. “We didn’t know there were no shelters ... until we had the need.”
But Sunday’s festivities are not meant to be sad, the Halls say. In addition to the expected sunny weather and the natural beauty at the 300-acre Bare Cove Park, there will prizes will be available – for the dogs and people.
“We hand out prizes to all the dogs,” Will Hall said. “It’s the dogs who earn them.”
The prizes include items like collars and treats from an area pet store. But there’s a “pretty good” raffle, too, Will Hall said, with gift certificates from area restaurants and Red Sox tickets.
“That’s for the people,” explains Will Hall, who just finished his first year at Wheelock College, majoring in communications and humanities.
The Scituate shelter has found homes for more than 2,500 animals in the last 15 years, according to its website. For more information, or to make a donation, visit the shelter's website.