A COUNTRY estate has held a family fun day with a four-legged twist.
Stansted Park in Rowlands Castle hosted the ‘Stansted Bark’ yesterday, a day of activities aimed at families with dogs.
The grounds in front of the park’s grand country house were filled with canine-themed stands and a bouncy castle, while dog demonstrations and competitions also took place.
Scores of visitors flocked to the grounds despite a downpour earlier in the day.
Hayling Island Bookshop owner Marie Telford was one of the organisers of the ‘Bark’, which had never been done before.
She said: ‘There are not many things for families with dogs to do, so we thought it would be nice to have something that would be fun for all the family, including the four-legged members.’
Stansted Park Foundation director James Cooper said the family event was perfectly suited to the park.
He said: ‘The dog is always the third member of the family, an integral member of the family, and we are essentially a family place.
‘We’ve got plenty of dog demonstrations, jungle runs and stalls galore.’
Mr Cooper’s 14-year-old daughter, Izzy, volunteered at the fun day.
She said she loved dogs and had her own canine friend, called Tilly, at home.
She said: ‘I love their wagging tails.
‘They’re really sweet and they’re always there for you.’
The event raised money for Canine Partners, a charity which trains dogs to assist disabled people.
The charity’s head of regional fundraising, Jill Green, said: ‘Our dogs can change lives with what they do, both emotionally and physically.
‘They help people to have a lot more independence.’
Children’s authors Peter Bently, Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore were there to talk about their latest canine-themed books.
Mr Bently said: ‘Dogs have great comedic value.
‘Cats always have a plan and are quite devious, but dogs are just happy if you give them a tickle behind the ear and something to eat.’
There were prizes for pets in categories including ‘dog with the waggiest tale’, ‘most handsome dog’, ‘prettiest bitch’ and ‘dog most like its owner’.