Adoption fair aims to find homes for rescue animals
Sunday, October 20, 2013
On Saturday afternoon, Jefferson City's Memorial Park went to the dogs. Literally.
The first Rally to Rescue Adoptapolooza -- cohosted by MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue, PETCO, Purina Pro Plan, Rally to Rescue and 360 Wellness -- featured a variety of treats for the canine crowd. Dog owners braved the October chill with their four-legged friends to take home food and toys and learn about proper pet care.
In addition to pet supplies, the event hosted a Trash to Treasure Drive that let owners donate unneeded pet items to rescues and shelters, as well as microchip services at a discounted rate. And several rescue organizations offered the chance to bring home a new family member.
Sheila Ehler, a representative with Dogs Deserve Better, brought in three dogs in need of new homes. The organization pulls dogs, many of whom have suffered at the hands of previous owners, from reserves and shelters. She said several visitors had shown interest in adopting the dogs.
The more people willing to add dogs like these to their families, she said, the more animals the organization can help.
“When these dogs get adopted, we’re able to go bring more dogs in and adopt more,” Ehler said.
Phyllis Atkin, dog director of the Sedalia-based animal rescue group Animal FAIR, also brought several dogs to the event. The most energetic member of the pack was Debbie, a 3-year-old black lab from a kill shelter in Odessa that Atkin described as a “good dog, but a bit of an alpha female.”
Most of the dogs had been abandoned and rescued, Atkin said. Her volunteer-run organization works to place dogs in private foster homes so they can develop behavioral skills.
“The most rewarding part is getting them in a good home,” Atkin said. And on Saturday, that mission was successful; by mid-afternoon, a terrier mix named Oliver had been adopted.
To help owners better care for their pets, Adoptapalooza hosted a number of informational presentations throughout the day. One of the guest speakers was James Adcox, a PETCO dog trainer.
With the help of his canine assistant Momo, a service dog in training, Adcox demonstrated the proper technique for basic commands. Momo laid patiently on a blanket until Adcox ordered her to sit up and lie back down, which she quietly obeyed.
An important lesson to remember, Adcox said, was that teaching a dog obedience skills was often a long process.
“Training a dog takes time, patience, consistency and repetition,” he said.
Dog owners were pleased with the event as well.
Peggy Robinson, who attended Adoptapalooza with her family, said she first heard about the event while shopping at Petco. She arrived at Memorial Park with a canine companion of her own — Molly, a beagle-dachshund mix dressed for the cold weather in a dog-sized sweater and slippers.
Robinson is considering adding a second dog to the family and wanted to explore possible avenues for adoption.
Her son Reco adopted Molly from another owner, but Robinson says it was really the other way around.
“She (Molly) adopted him,” Robinson said, laughing.
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