Some leapt to retrieve newspapers, danced on two legs, gave enthusiastic wet kisses, performed fierce tail-wagging comparable to a metronome gone mad, and proudly strutted their stuff before a panel of judges. A few came dolled-up in bumble bee, shark, skeleton and ladybug costumes. Others simply observed, silent cheerleaders with the occasional bark or howl thrown in to voice appreciation.
Welcome to the 15th annual Animal Faire, sponsored by the Eastern Madera County SPCA with Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler serving as master of ceremonies.
Despite the hot weather, the one-mile Tails on the Trail dog walk, led by Ronie Reimer with her rescue dog, 2013 mascot Steve, attracted 27 walkers with 30 dogs. Later, an estimated 250 dog lovers with at least 100 canines in tow, attended the judged competitions.
Proud owners beamed and took advantage of every opportunity to praise their pets. After her first-place win in the newspaper fetch, owner Nolan Fitzpatrick said of his two-year-old Pit mix, "Guiny loves everyone and every animal. She lives to play and sleep, with just a little eating in between."
Sharon Fitzgerald, president of the organization, was delighted with and grateful for the turn-out. "With the ground-breaking for the EMC SPCA Animal Care and Adoption Center getting closer, it is really encouraging to see so many animal lovers gather with their dogs to enjoy the Faire," she said. "We are very appreciative of our community's continuing support."
For 23 years, the EMC SPCA has been working diligently to build a Mountain Area no-kill shelter, which is the reason all their fundraisers, such as the Animal Faire, are focused on raising $1.5 million.
After the tail-wagging slowed and the wet sloppy licks dried, it was time to call an end to a fun day. More than likely, most of the dogs were fast asleep on their way home, exhausted from the excitement and exhilaration of greeting old friends and smelling new ones.
It was truly the perfect dogs' day afternoon.Contest winners
sponsored by Sierra Star
1. Nolan Fitzpatrick and Guiny - 4.6 seconds
2. Mary Hermann and Shiloh - 5.1 seconds
3. Mary Hermann and Maaile - 5.2 seconds
sponsored by Bob and Pat Ritchey
1. Julie Truelove with Jessie
2. Alison Card with Cash
3. Sunny with Lucy
sponsored by Mysham for the Love of Dogs
1. Hope with Ruby
2. Danielle Hatfield with Cash
3. Allison Card with Cash
All-American Dog Show
sponsored by Linda Chappell in memory of Jerry Chappell
1. Mary Wright with Sunny
2. Vanessa Rogers with Luna
3. Cindy Ratzloff with Bodie
sponsored by Western Sierra Nursery
1. Krista with Anna and Nibs
2. Vanessa Rogers and Jenna with Luna
3. Macie Wiggins with Chumlee
sponsored by Marilyn Rigg-State Farm Insurance
1. Terri May with Decoy
2. Maddi Brannan with Dutchess
3. Susanne with Syd
The Yolk's on You
sponsored by Oakhurst Feed and Pet Supply
1. Shae Cone with Fenton
2. Cece Molnar with Hank
3. Tom Heather with Girlie