MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

October 20, 2013

Honor Heights Park goes to the dogs

PAWS Animal Fest fundraiser brings animals, owners out

Honor Heights Park played home to an array of talented dogs on Saturday afternoon at the 20th annual Animal Fest.

Deanna Butler, the executive director of Eastern Oklahoma K-9, said they wanted to come out to help promote the event.

“We’ve been doing lots of socializing with people,” Butler said. “We’ve also done a demonstration of how our search and rescue dogs find people in different situations. This is a great event because it helps the Promoting Animal Welfare Society bring money in to help other dogs.”

In addition to the demonstration from the search and rescue dogs, there were also contests for the best dancer, the dog who did the best trick and even a competition for the best tail wagger.

Maida Escobar, 10, whose Boston terrier named Molly won the Best Dancer, said she had a lot of fun at Animal Fest.

“The food is delicious, the music is great and I’m excited about what they are doing,” Maida said.

PAWS is a non-profit charitable organization that is dedicated to reducing the abuse, overpopulation and euthanasia of animals in the greater Muskogee area, according to their website.

Dorothy Farmer, the executive director of PAWS, said the event is a fundraiser and “how they survive.”

“The event has gone pretty well,” Farmer said. “We’ve had lots of contests and lots of entertainment. Our main focus is getting people out here and educating them about spaying/neutering and how to be good parents to their pets.”

Farmer also said over the years, the shelter has adopted out more than 2,000 animals.

“We’ve adopted three out just this week alone,” she said. “And probably 50 for the year. We also do spaying and neutering, as well as finding other ways to help people out. The event has grown year after year, and we’ve made lots of changes, but I still make the chili every year.”

Butler said a good portion of her search and rescue dogs have come from shelters.

“We have four shelter dogs who are now nationally certified search and rescue dogs,” she said. “Eastern Oklahoma K-9 supports all the humane societies and shelters out there. They help.”

Approximately 300 people attended Animal Fest, and most brought their furry friends with them. Tabatha Fuller, who runs TNT Designs, said they had to leave their dogs behind for the day.

“I have two yorkies, and it would have been a handful trying to run a vendor booth and watch them,” Fuller said. “But I think Muskogee needs more pet-based events like this. I think there is a large population of pet owners in this town, and maybe not enough events for them. Also, it’s for a great cause.”

Fuller said her favorite part of Animal Fest was the live entertainment.

“It’s been great to see everyone’s pets too,” she said. “We will for sure try to come back next year. The crowd has been good today.”

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or tsloat@muskogeephoenix.com.

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