The CASA K-9 Walk brought an eclectic mix of dogs and dog lovers to the city park this past Saturday.
The event was held to raise funds to help provide advocates for children in foster care. But the theme of the day was all about dogs.
There were family pets, abandoned dogs available for adoption, rescued greyhound racing dogs, rescued golden retrievers and therapy dogs that comfort the ailing and lonely.
Roscoe, a tiny 2-year-old terrier mix, who was abandoned on the roadside near Dana Mahler's home, was decked out in sweater of small blue balloons and wore a sign that read "Blueberries for Sale."
The clever outfit won Roscoe a bone that was larger than he was in the event's Blue contest.
The walk and educational event was held in ideal weather. Open air booths offered information on the lives of K-9 pets. The Franklin County Humane Society brought four dogs to represent the pets that are available for adoption and the Society's facility in Union.
Poochy Smooches, a professional dog trainer headquartered in Union, also brought four dogs and demonstrated how easy it is to train dogs to heel, sit, stay and turn.
Rescued Racers, an organization that has no kennels or office, brought seven sleek greyhound racing dogs that illustrate perils of a dog's life.
Bred to race, the dogs start working on the track at about 18 months and race only until they are 5 and then they are suddenly out of work and have no home. Teams of greyhound lovers across the United States scramble to find homes for them.
"They're actually one of the best house pets you could imagine," said Mary Ann Moore of Eureka, who brought two greyhounds that she had adopted in Spain. "They're so easy to take care of, so quiet in the house."
Moore, a former TWA employee who traveled to Europe, often learned that the Spanish hunters used the sleek dogs to hunt then discarded them. Chico, her 6-year-old black greyhound, and Luna, her blond 11-month old, accompanied her.
"They make wonderful pets," Moore said.
Robin's Therapy Dogs brought two dogs a Great Pyrenees and a German shepherd. The dogs are trained to visit the ill.
Duke and Pam Matlock walked with Luke, their 4-year-old golden retriever, which they had just adopted from Dirks Fund, a Pacific based golden retriever rescue organization.
Dirks Fund Shelter, 526 Indian Warpath Drive, has a Web site that invites people to come and play with adoptable pets on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Some 110 individuals signed up to walk their dogs around half-mile Birk Circle, some walked several pets. Some sprayed blue hair color on their pets' top knots and dressed them in blue sweaters for the Blue contest.
Judges were ensconced on the track to judge the blue costumes.
The Dan Donnelly Backpack Foundation offered free hamburgers and hot dogs for participants. Representatives said they had dished up about 200 servings. A donation jar on the table was crammed with folded bills.
"The Backpack Foundation provided the food," said Chris Keil, a Backpack volunteer. "All the donations are for CASA."
A sign posted near the sign-up table listed event sponsors - Sullivan Veterinary Hospital, Nestle Purina, Citizens Bank, Pacific Feed, Pigg's Pets, Pizza Hut, Big River and Pet Emae's.
It was the first K-9 Walk sponsored by CASA, according to Glenda Volmert, CASA executive director.
"The turnout was wonderful," she said.
For more information about CASA, people may contact Volmert at 636-583-4422.