Monday, June 19, 2000

DogFest honors our best friends

Games, adoption info featured

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        UNION TOWNSHIP — It will be a scratch and sniff special, a celebration of all things canine.

        The township's Department of Parks and Recreation is scheduling its first-ever DogFest for Sunday. The event boasts a roster of activities that's sure to make Bowser yelp for joy.

        DogFest starts at 10 a.m. with an AKC/USDAA Agility Show & Go and registration for AKC obedience trials. Dog and owner games begin at 10:30 a.m. A combination of serious and light-hearted games and competitions will continue until 6 p.m. There will be seminars and demonstrations on such topics as pet adoption, dog grooming, dog training and canine first aid.

        “They say every dog has its day, but they've never really established just when that day is,” said Bill Zerkle, director of parks and recreation. “Now, in West Chester at least, that day is Sunday, June 25.”

        Mr. Zerkle got the idea of a holiday for hounds as a way of introducing the public to the newly developed Voice of America Park. He also liked the concept of celebrating canine contributions to the community.

        “Canines do lots of things for us: they help fight crime, protect our homes, save lives, serve as eyes and comfort the lonely,” he said.

        Two sponsors of the event hope to raise awareness of their dog-related activities and to educate the public about responsible pet ownership.

        “Our goals are certainly to spread the word about our shelter and adoption services,” said Sarah Skoglund, a volunteer with League for Animal Welfare, which operates a no-kill shelter near Eastgate Mall in Clermont County. The league is joining with PAWS, operatorsof a no-kill shelter in Middletown, to provide an educational component at DogFest.

        All well-mannered dogs on leash are welcome at the event, Mr. Zerkle said, even if they can't do tricks, play Frisbee or clown for the camera.

        “We celebrate bosses and sweethearts, even mothers-in-law. Why not dogs?” he said.


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