Blame the perfect weather for the record turnout. Last Sunday’s 18th annual EMCSPCA Animal Faire drew more than 200, with dogs of all sizes and breeds putting on quite a show, both on and off center stage.
Princess Leia of Star Wars tried to keep the tightly coiled hair buns on, a bumble bee buzzed by, a squirrel leisurely strolled, a knight in shining armor proudly strutted, and a fuzzy long-legged tarantula expertly maneuvered around obstacles.
Despite a year to practice, tiny Jezebel just wasn’t up for kissing Bella Medina during Best Kiss. Master of Ceremonies, Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, teased that food crumbs or a smear of honey might help.
The pressure was too much for Anna during Best Trick. Even though she had practiced daily for three weeks with Krista Kenyon, her attention was focused more on exploring the aromatic new smells on the park grass rather than the hoop she had successfully jumped through several times earlier in the day.
Daisy was oblivious to the fact that she was losing her bright pink-orange wig, rolling over and over until the hairpiece became a long beard dragging the ground. The audience showed their appreciation with applause, cheers, laughter, and words of encouragement.
Even newly appointed Madera County Sheriff dog, 2-year-old Gastone (a Belgian Malinois), along with deputy Eric Jackson put in an appearance to the delight of the crowd.
After Father Gordon Kamai of Christ Church gave a group blessing of the animals, he blessed each animal individually calling them by name. As Hope Morton’s tiny dog relaxed in her arms, Kamai sprinkled a few droplets of holy water overhead, saying, “Butterfly, may you enjoy the life God has given you.” Morton said Kamai’s group blessing was so moving that it made her want to cry.
“If you missed the Animal Faire, you missed out on something pretty special,” EMCSPCA President Sharon Fitzgerald said. “There were so many new dogs and so many new people - ones we haven’t seen in previous years. The weather was ideal. The dogs were well-behaved ... and it was so much fun to see families coming out to enjoy the day with their furry friends.”
Once energy levels had peaked and the hustle-bustle began to die down, spectators called it a day, beaming from ear-to-ear while furry family members most likely curled up in backseats tuckered out from so much merriment.
It was indeed a celebration of four-leggers who bring smiles to our hearts and love to our lives.
Just as in previous years, Michael Steen with Graydon Kennels donated and awarded the medals to the event winners.
Because the no-kill animal shelter property (located across from Wasuma Elementary School on Highway 49) has been deeded to the state, progress has been temporarily halted until Caltrans approves the project. Madera County has the permits ready and waiting, and both grading and septic contractors have been hired and are waiting to begin work.
For those who have been asking, this state-of-the-art facility will also offer a secured dog park.
Proceeds from the animal faire, as with all EMCSPCA events, go towards the animal shelter fund.
To donate: emcspca.org.
* Newspaper Fetch
1st: Roxanne Karr (Foxie)
2nd: John Hoop (Chief)
3rd: Nancy McPherson (Sam)
* Best Wag
1st: Julie Truelove (Jessie)
2nd: Bob Kaspar (Trumpet)
3rd: Ashley Lloyd-Jones (Annie)
* Best Kiss
1st: Dennis Creighton (Molly)
2nd: Danielle Hatfield (Cash)
3rd: Hope Morton (Ruby)
* All American Dog Show
1st: Karen Christensen (Whistler)
2nd: Nancy Akin (Ace)
3rd: Stacy Rankin (Taron)
* Best Costume
1st: Tiffany (Cisco)
2nd: Alison Card (Cash)
3rd: Scotlyn Smith (Chumley)
* Best Trick
1st: Dennis Creighton (Misty)
2nd: Ashley Lloyd-Jones (Annie)
3rd: Emily (Jack)
* The Yolk’s On You
1st: Alison Card (Cash)
2nd: Hailey Gunn (Snowy)
3rd: Danielle Hatfield (Cash)