It’s starting to feel like the dog days of summer, so today was a perfect day for the 19th annual Dog-A-Thon at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood.
Organizers expected 2,500 people and 500 dogs to attend the event, a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Tacoma-Pierce County.
Pure-breeds and mutts alike gathered at Fort Steilacoom for the event, which featured demonstrations of dog herding and agility, contests for the best dog costume and biggest dog and other festivities.
"It’s a canine carnival," said Kathleen Olson, the society’s executive director. "People like to see and be see with their dogs."
Linda Leeman was among those seen with her dog Rusty, a 5-year-old red Australian cattle dog. Leeman owns Ewe-Topia, a herd dog training facility in Roy. She and Rusty herded some ducks into pens and up slides as an appreciative crowd applauded.
"We like doing this for the Humane Society," Leeman said. "It’s a great organization."
Last year’s Dog-A-Thon netted $137,000 for the organization. Olson said this year’s event is expected to raise more than $150,000. The money will benefit homeless animals.
Cats did their part, too.
Granted, they opted out of a day at a park teeming with dogs.
Laurie Cinotti, fosters kitten for the Humane Society and keeps a blog on them, www.theittybittykittycommittee.com. She mustered the blog’s fans to raise Dog-A-Thon funds that will be used to expand adoption facilities for cats. People from all over the country and around the world donated. They also bid on naming rights for the new foster kittens, and on donations of an original watercolor and an art clock.
The effort brought in $21,200.
The nonprofit wasn’t the only one raising money. Vendors of dog toys, dog collars, doggy daycare and other canine goods and services se up booths around the park. Vendors say it’s one of their best events.
"This is their clientele," Olson said of the dog owners. "These (dogs) are their furry children."