By CHERIL VERNON
About 200 people came out for BARC, The Humane Society’s BARCfest Saturday — including many who brought their dogs with them — for events including dog agility, mini dog races, petting zoo and more.
“The Livestock Expo was full of smiles, even the dogs were smiling. I know for sure that the six dogs that got adopted are very happy,” BARCfest event coordinator Pam Smith said. “The mini dog races were a real hoot.”
Erma Fielder and her little Chihuahua mix rescue, Captain Jack Sparrow, were the first-place winners and walked away with a doggy basket donated by Petsense.
“The agility dogs, mostly rescues, were in fine form and a few of the kids got to feel the speed by running border collies, Cosmo and BARC adoptee Skeeter. One of the little boys was so excited he was just jumping up and down, I think he was jumping higher than the border collies!” Smith said.
Corbin Quick, 12, of Palestine was one of the kids who were able to take Skeeter for a “test drive” leading him through the agility course.
“I liked it because it was with dogs, not cats,” Quick joked. “It was fun.”
Guy Mayberry’s Second Spin Rescue Disc Dogs also performed.
“His cattle dogs Nat and Jake were high flying, but I think my favorite was his little mix breed cuddle dog, Sheldon. He was so cute scurrying after those little discs,” Smith said.
CM Streek Agility Training Center of Frankston put on agility demonstrations throughout the day.
“I think an event like this is good, showing people what shelter dogs can do. Many of the dogs out there doing the agility course — including my dogs — are from shelters or rescues,” CM Streek Agility Training Center trainer Terry Dyck said. “It also shows people another option for interacting with their dogs. It shows that shelter dogs can do it just as well as other dogs and it provides entertainment. It’s fun to watch the dogs and their handlers do the agility course.”
Dyck answered questions about teaching dogs to do agility courses while the dogs performed.
“Just about any dog can do agility — though some of the largest breeds or tiniest breeds really aren’t adapted to it. I’ve had dogs as big as Great Danes do it, as well as border collies, papillons, Jack Russell terriers, cocker spaniels and even Chinese crested dogs,” Dyck said.
Bill McFarlin of Flint and his dog Star (known as Bill & Star during their stint on CBS reality show Greatest American Show a few years ago) offered training tips as well as showing off his dogs’ disc and agility skills during the event.
“I brought Star, Lucille, Maggie and my newest puppy, Ziva,” McFarlin said. “It’s always fun to be around lots of people who love dogs. I enjoy seeing the shelter dogs get a second chance in life.”
Lynn Chaffin provided barbecue for the event.
“We really owe him a big ‘’paws up’ for volunteering his time to cook a cooler full of brisket for us. And a big thanks to Cars of Palestine for coming out and displaying their great classic cars. It was pretty cool to see them all driving up to the arena together,” Smith said.
Palestine Middle School students’ artwork was featured in a juried art show during the event. The students were asked to draw their pet or a pet they would like to have.
BARC’s new dog groomer Rachel Sharp offered grooming tips and clipped nails during BARCfest.
So far, BARC, the Humane Society has took in $7,300 from BARCfest with more donations coming in.
“Our shelter staff along with their families and friends really went above and beyond setting up the petting zoo, getting all the dogs for adoption to the arena, doing the face painting and just visiting with all the people who came to see our shelter dogs,” Smith said. “We also owe a huge thank you to our BARCfest sponsors, adoption sponsors, drawing donors, volunteers and everyone that attended.
Patricia McClure attended BARCfest with her sister Kathleen Walker of Pinehurst and David Hampley of Palestine. Next to her side was her dog, Snowball.
“I’ve had a wonderful time. I love watching these dogs and watching the people who bring their dogs — that’s a lot of fun,” McClure said.
Debbie Cernoch of Palestine brought her newly acquired black Pomeranian named Sissy to BARCfest in a little wagon. Cernoch took in Sissy, whose legs are deformed and one missing, after hearing she needed a home after she was abandoned. Her handicapdidn’t keep Cernoch from adopting the happy, spunky dog.
“I’ve always wanted a dog where I could paint her toe nails and put a bow in her hair, and now I can,” Cernoch said.
Bird rehabilitator Karen Montalvo of Palestine brought her recent animal shelter adoptee Obi, a 5-to-6-year old male chihuahua-terrier mix to the event to support BARC, The Humane Society.
“He’s real timid, bless his heart, but I wanted to bring him out here today,” Moltalvo said.
Obi was one of four dogs brought to the animal shelter recently when an elderly person in the community passed away.
“I wanted to make sure he had a home,” Moltalvo said.
Smith said now that BARCfest is over, the shelter is already planning its “Puppy Fest” for the Hot Pepper Festival and their participation in the Hot Pepper Festival Parade.
“Keep an eye on our website at www.barctx.org. We will get pictures from BARCfest up soon,” Smith said.
For more information about upcoming agility classes at CM Streek Agility Training Center of Frankston, visit http://www.cmstreek.com/ or call 903-876-3004.