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Pet Festival celebrates furry friends

Posted 10 August 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – Robert Stilwell took photographs of pets in funny poses and costumes for the event. Dilly was made to look like a ’20s swinger with the props on hand.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

GAINES – The Olde Dogge Inn held a Pet Festival on Saturday and welcomed more than 100 visitors in the first hour. People were welcome to bring their pets for sales, demonstrations, services, portraits and psychic readings.

“People are really excited about this and having a lot of fun,” said Olde Dogge Inn owner Jennifer Stilwell. “All the animals are happy, all the people are happy. It’s just a great event and it’s getting a lot of positive response. This only reinforces our decision to bring the festival back because it definitely is drawing a lot of attention.”

Eveline Burdick attended the festival with her dog Sasha in tow.

“It’s a good way for the dogs to socialize with people and I’ve never been here and I wanted to see what they had to offer,” she said. “We always do all the pet festivals and I saw this one online.”

Festival goers could check out tents selling pet merchandise or talk to vendors about food choices. Pet rescuers were also there accepting donations and educating the public on their services.

Pet ID tags were offered at a discount price to give lost pets a better chance of getting home.

Lieutenant Christopher Bourke with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department was there to do a demonstration with Cim, a dog that works for the department. He was contacted by Stilwell to do a demonstration.

Cim was trained in Germany and imported by the department. Bourke gives Cim her commands in German. Because the dog and trainer are so close, Cim works the same hours as Bourke and returns home with him each night.

“We’re going to talk about the dog and how we use the dog and the training the dog has,” Bourke said. “We’ll demonstrate some obedience, some drug-detection work and let the dog apprehend a pretend bad guy.”

Bourke plays with Cim for a moment because she found the drugs that were hidden.

Drug detection is turned into a game for training to make it more exciting for the dog.

Bourke demonstrated how Cim follows commands by having her sit and heel on command.

He also had her break into a full run and then had her drop into a laying position instantly. He explained that having her obey commands so quickly from a distance could potentially save her life. It could prevent her from being in harm’s way in a variety of dangerous situations.

Bourke and Deputy Jeff Cole show how Cim is used to apprehend criminals.

The Orleans County Dog Heelers 4-H club also did a demonstration at the event. The group showed off their dogs’ agility and obedience. They also performed tricks and played flyball. The club is led by Jackie Gingerich and Lindsay Moore.

Club member Abby Allen brought her chocolate lab Cody to show off his abilities.

“He’s really well trained,” she said. “He’s really good at obedience. If you tell him to sit and stay, he’ll stay there forever.”

The Dog Heelers ran their dogs through the obstacle course.

P.A.W.S. Animal Shelter also brought some pets and information about adoptions. Olde Dogge Inn helps the shelter with adoptions by having kittens in the store.

“We’re just spreading the word that we’re open. We’re in a pretty slow spot. We’re on Gaines Basin Road and there’s not a lot of traffic through there. We’re also a no-kill shelter,” said volunteer Morgan Tinkous. “We’ve had birds, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs. We’ve taken small animals. We don’t take in anything we’re not comfortable with.”

These cats are among the ones up for adoption. Throughout the festival, several kids came up to play with the cats.