Celebrating the Joy of Pets at Pets-AH-Palooza

On September 25, Northwestern Medicine Field was full of the happy sounds of barking and laughter as Anderson Humane hosted our 7th annual Pets-AH-Palooza. For Gerry and Teresa, the event was a bit of a reunion. They adopted their dog AJ at a previous Pets-AH-Palooza. “We have fun with him every day,” Gerry said. And this day was no exception.

Their family was among more than 1,300 attendees who descended on the home of the Kane County Cougars to play, learn, eat, shop, and celebrate all things pets. Many people brought their dogs. “We saw bulldogs, corgis, mastiffs, collies, Chinese crested, Chihuahuas, great Danes, Belgian Malinois, beagles, and so many more,” said Kim Gifford, Anderson Humane’s Director of Special Events. “There were also a number of people without pets hanging out by the lure course who just wanted to come and experience the joy animals bring.” There were a few cats and even a pig in attendance as well.

The lure course was one of the most popular attractions, with people waiting patiently for their dogs to get a turn chasing a white plastic lure around a set course. “We need to get something like this!” one attendee said to her husband as they watched their collie excitedly race after the lure. While some of the dogs got a bit distracted or tired during their turn, many enjoyed the challenging chase. Julie, a volunteer working the lure course, said one of the most impressive runs was by a three-legged dog named Haven. “She didn’t miss a beat,” Julie said.

Three different times throughout the day, the Canine Stars took to the ball field to dazzle the audience with their stunts. Budro, Whisk, and Dua Lipa, all rescue dogs taken in and trained by the Canine Stars, wowed people and dogs alike with their high jumping, Frisbee catching, and other daring feats.

At 1 p.m., about eight beagles and their people convened at the alumni tent. This was the first reunion of the beagles Anderson Humane helped rescue from the Envigo breeding and research facility last month. While the beagles sniffed and played with each other, the adopters swapped stories about how their dogs have adapted to living in a home. “Everything was brand new,” one beagle owner said as others nodded in agreement.

Anderson Humane staff offered brief classes on basic manners at a drop-in training area. “The number-one question we receive is how to get a dog to stop jumping up on people,” said Brittany Bloor, Animal Behavior Program Manager at Anderson Humane. She said one family was amazed at the difference in their dog’s behavior after she worked with him for just a few minutes. When a couple stopped by with their dog, who is deaf and blind, Brittany shared creative ways to communicate and cue desired behaviors in their pup.

The adoption tent was a big hit, with the first adoption taking place before the event even began when a Kane County Cougars staff member stopped by and fell in love with a Corgi. By the end of the day, 17 dogs left with their new forever families, including Lemonade, a light-brown lab-mix who was carried out by his new person, Alan.

At the Kids’ Zone, the youngest attendees got to take a mini Scat, Tracks, and Habitat hike through nearby trees, where they found raccoon tracks and a small critter habitat. “Now this was amazing,” one girl said at the end of her hike.

Carol and Dennis attended Pets-AH-Palooza with Ivy, the 10-month-old Mastiff-mix they adopted from Anderson Humane in March. Ivy rocked the agility course and seemed to enjoy seeing all the other dogs there. “What a wonderful event,” Carol said. “All three of us had a great time.”

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