Parade Parade of pets
BY JANE HOLAHAN, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
The third annual Lancaster Pet Day drew hundreds of furry creatures to downtown Lancaster Sunday afternoon, along with about 1,000 humans.
There were service dogs; dogs in tutus; mellow but giant Bernese Mountain dogs and tiny, not-so-mellow chihuahuas; a kangaroo and colorful parrots.
You could have a session with a pet psychic, get your pet sketched, vaccinated or microchipped. You could even have them blessed.
Pet Day was billed as a Life Celebration and was held at the Fred F. Groff Funeral Home Inc. on West Orange Street.
"We wanted to show that there can be fun here, and we wanted to do something to help the community," said Andrew Hoffman, a funeral director and prearrangement director at Groff and the main organizer of the event. "There are a lot of pet fairs out there, but most are held in the suburbs."
Hoffman, who is involved with a rescue for Yorkshire terriers -- he and his wife, Elizabeth, have four -- estimated that about 1,000 people attended Sundays' pet day. Last year it was about 600, and the first year it was about 300.
"We saw this as an event where all different organizations could come together, talk and share resources and ideas," Hoffman said.
He even took his dogs to the pet psychic and discovered that they need more treats.
"Imagine that," he said with a laugh.
A number of rescue groups participated and there were some animals up for adoption, including Winnie, a cat.
"Winnie needs a home because her family is in the military and couldn't take her with them," said Debra Brown, of P.A.W.S. (Preservation of Animal Welfare and Safety), a no-kill animal rescue and spay/neuter group.
Also there was Dogs on Deployment, which helps members of the military find temporary homes for their pets before they are deployed, so they don't have to give them up permanently.
"The idea for everything here is adopt, don't shop," Hoffman said. "You can get that perfect pet through adoption, it might just take a little patience. You don't need to go to puppy mills."
A big attraction of Pet Day was vaccines for rabies, bordetella and distemper, given at highly-discounted prices of $10 each through the Central PA Animal Alliance, and administered by volunteer veterinarians William M. Lewis and David P. Burrichter.
That's what brought Scooby, a boxer, and Bear, a chow to the event.
"Getting them vaccinated can be expensive," said Deb Allmond, of Holtwood. "I love having my pets and I am a responsible pet owner, so when I heard about the vaccines we decided to come."
The vaccines were so popular they ran out late in the afternoon.
Chris Mandros and Mike Williams brought their Bernese Mountain dog, Argus, who was checking out all kinds of dogs, large and small, but mostly was waiting patiently to get home "to take a nap," according to Williams.
"He gets a lot of attention in the city," Mandros said. "Lancaster is a dog-friendly city."
"I came to show them off," said Lancaster's Pablo Franco, of his German Rottweilers, Cujo and Bella. Despite the scary name, Cujo played nice with everyone he met.
"I love my dogs," Franco said. "They are like a stress thing. When you come home from a bad day, they are there to love you and make you happy."
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