The playful sound of the paws on the ground and the barks of mingling dogs dressed as dinosaurs, princesses, and superheros competing for the best Halloween costume echoed throughout Newton Centre on Thursday afternoon.
The chorus of dogs traced back to a packed Baramor restaurant, which was hosting Jr’s Barktoberfest, a philanthropic event benefiting canine charities. Baramor encouraged guests to dress their pets for a costume competition, participate in a raffle, and enjoy its menu items.
Though most of the humans in attendance weren’t in costume, the pups brightened the cool and gray afternoon. They wagged their tails and pounced in excitement. One even gave a person a friendly nibble.
The humans matched the dogs’ energy, though, talking among themselves, sampling wine and beer, and ordering American classics off of Baramor’s menu.
“I’ve been here the last few years,” attendee David Proia said. “We love to decorate and add costumes for the dog. It’s a great event to hang out at, 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 spay-neuter educational outreach program volunteering in the Dominican Republic,” Barbo said. “We go down with all our medical supplies [and] do spay-neuters and other medical procedures to teach animal welfare.”
Barbo said she always recruits a local rescue to have adoptable dogs at the events that the nonprofit hosts. Shultz’s Guest House, an animal rescue shelter, brought dogs to Thursday’s event.
A Black Lab named Shadow greeted attendees with her cuddly and cheerful personality. Michelle Ratner, a volunteer at Shultz’s Guest House, held onto Shadow, who wagged her tail among furry friends dressed up as dinosaurs and superheroes. The shelter introduced each dog to attendees, stirring up waves of applause.
Ratner said the shelter started as a small rescue about 14 years ago. All of the dogs the shelter rescues come from Tennessee, according to Ratner.
Arpit Patel, the owner of Baramor, wanted to focus the fundraising efforts on furry friends bringing together the Newton community. It was a success, he said. The event raised $8,000 for Shultz Guest House, Project Samana—which provides veterinary care in the Caribbean—and Kyle’s Legacy, a nonprofit fighting canine cancer.
“Guests were eager to support the charities and have a fun night out with their dressed-up pups,” Patel said.
The outdoor patio was ideal for the community to gather and bring attention to broader issues surrounding dogs such as canine cancer research, according to Barbo.
“My main mission is to think globally [and] act locally,” Barbo said. “Getting the local community involved and local businesses will help to sort of think about a broader cause.”
People sat in the patio, enjoying from Baramor’s menu while waiting for the winner of the costume contest to be announced.
Looking toward future dog-focused events and fundraisers, Baramor intends to continue efforts to gather the community to support the cause, according to Patel.
“Our furry friends and family members are often left out of events because so many restaurants are not pet-friendly,” Patel said. “We want to change that and the continuance of outdoor dining will allow us to keep pushing this forward.”