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Runners and dogs share the road at the Pet Fair’s 5K in Derryfield Park. Courtesy photo.




Pet Fair

Where: Derryfield Park, Manchester
When: Saturday, Sept. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Fair is free; 5K registration $30
Visit: rescueleague.org
Call: 472-5788




A day for the dogs
Race, walk or just play with your pup at Pet Fair

09/18/14



 It may as well be called Dog Day: Saturday, Sept. 20, will see hundreds of dogs descend on Derryfield Park in Manchester. Some will be running 5Ks with their people, some will be doing frisbee acrobatics, and some will be wearing little orange vests that say “Adopt me.”

It’s all part of the Animal Rescue League’s second annual Pet Fair. Originally split up into two events -- the My Dogs Are Barking 5K Road Race and the Pet Step Dog Walk -- the day-long fair is a fundraiser for the shelter. The 5K alone has been a big draw.
“We are one of the only 5Ks where we encourage people to run with their dogs,” said Karen Moynihan, the senior director of philanthropy at the Animal Rescue League. “Most 5Ks say no animals for safety reasons. But we encourage people to bring their dogs and encourage safety during the race. Last year we had about 500 runners, and about half of them ran with their dogs.”
Over the five years the 5K race has existed, the Animal Rescue League has altered the style of the race a number of different ways. This year, the race will be segmented into groups of runners based on the time it takes for them to run a mile, with or without a dog.
Moynihan said the event welcomes dogs and runners of all abilities. There’s also a dog walking event for non-runners or disabled or elderly dogs; Moynihan said the course is shorter and runs at a much leisurely pace.
“We’ve had a couple tripod dogs, some who were too old to run but wanted to spend time with their owner, so they put them in three-wheel carriages,” Moynihan said.
Despite having so many dogs in one place, the events has gone on without incident.
“There were a couple of little growls last year, but nothing that was concerning to us,” said Paula Mattis, the president and CEO of the Animal Rescue League. “We encourage all dog owners to know their dogs, so there haven’t really been any issues.”
Moynihan said the Animal Rescue League is operating three booths as well. The first will be an informational booth about the adoption process; the second will feature a variety of kids’ activities, like coloring and blowing bubbles; the third is a paw art booth where dogs can dip their paws into paw-friendly paint and make their mark at the fair.
Puppy Please will be hosting a series of agility classes in a separate part of the park, in which any participant can bring their furry friend into the fenced-in area to try their skills on the agility course. There will also be Wynette the arson-detection dog from the Manchester Fire Department who will demonstrate how dogs are trained to investigate fires and how they can detect if accelerants were involved.
New to the fair this year, the Granite State Disc Dogs perform acrobatic-style stunts with frisbees.
“They’re almost like acrobats with what they can do with a flying disc,” Moynihan said. “They’re high energy, very focused. It’s been a huge, huge hit with visitors.”
Since the event is free, having a dog isn’t a prerequisite for getting into the fair, but leaving with an adopted dog is encouraged as a take-home prize.
“We try to have shelter dogs there for adoption,” Moynihan said. “They wear adoptable orange vests like safety vests that say ‘Adopt me.’ It’s pretty obvious which shelter dogs need homes.”
 
As seen in the September 18, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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