Tonawanda News — This weekend, the Kenmore Village Improvement Society aims to present “the canine social event of the season” with its second Dog Days of Kenmore.
Don’t worry. Humans are allowed, too.
“We’re always trying to send out the message that Kenmore is a very family-friendly place,” said KVIS President Melissa Foster. “In many cases today, the family isn’t just humans. There are very often animal companions that are a very important part.”
The event will kick off at dusk Saturday with an outdoor movie (”All Dogs Go to Heaven”) shown in front of the Community Center on Wilbur Avenue in Mang Park. Popcorn and dog treats will be provided; guests need to bring a blanket or chair. The movie will be shown inside the center in case of rain.
On Sunday, an afternoon of events is planned from noon to 4 p.m. at Mang Park, including dozens of dog-related vendors, dog rescue groups, a children’s craft area, basket raffles, music by Creek Bend bluegrass band and food by Buffalo Concessions and Lloyd Taco Truck. A contest will crown three canine winners in three categories —dog/owner lookalikes, best costume and best trick — judged by Rob Lucas of Star 102.5, Andy Parker of Channel 2, KVIS board member Joe Manna and Dog Days coordinators
Jennifer Berryman and Jessica Ereiz.
Kenmore Fire Department will demonstrate its new oxygen masks for pets, donated in March by Project Breathe, and Town of Tonawanda K9 officer Tank and his handler will show off their skills. At 1:30 p.m., a Blessing of the Dogs will be given by the Rev. Ben Eder of Pilgrim Lutheran Church.
Dash Dog Running will be taking dogs for a free jog around the park. There will be a microchip and nail clip clinic, and an artist will be drawing free caricatures of dogs for owners who sign up to receive free information about upcoming KVIS events, Foster said.
“It’s everything you can imagine for dogs and about dogs ...in this wonderful, fun environment,” she said. “And we’ll have biscuits and water and shade for the dogs to cool off if it’s hot.”
Much of the event is all about fun, however, part of it is quite serious.
Dog Days co-coordinator Berryman, owner of two golden retrievers named Linus and Lucy, is affiliated with golden retriever rescue group GRROWLS ... one of about a dozen rescues and shelters that will be taking part in the event. Some will have adoptable dogs on site.
Berryman said the event is a great opportunity for people who don’t own dogs to learn about the different breeds. Some of the rescues involved focus on specific breeds of dog, while some are more general and others put a spotlight on other dogs at risk (such as the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance).
“I think people are becoming more cognizant as far as what’s going on in the world and that people really want to do something for a rescue dog,” Berryman said. “They’re getting a second change to find that forever home.”
Vendors will be showcasing everything from natural dog biscuits to Posh Paw Parties for pets, from pet photography to doggy daycare facilities, including Paws@Play Dog Daycare in North Tonawanda.
Shannon Becker, a manager at the business, said last year’s Dog Days of Kenmore was a great event.
“There’s a lot more businesses in the area in general related to dogs and pets,” she said. “There are a lot of rescue groups, too, and that’s always good.”
Miranda K. Workman, owner of Purrfect Paws Animal Behavior Center in the Town of Tonawanda, said the center will also be taking part in the event for the second year in a row.
“For a first year, it was great, so we’re looking forward to what’s new this year,” she said.
Workman, whose business provides human and pet education through classes, playgroups, training, evaluations and community outreach initiatives, said that she has noticed a trend toward more events that acknowledge the bond between humans and their animal companions.
“I think because this is a very animal-friendly community to begin with, we like to see them included in our events as part of our families, not just as a pet,” she said. “We’re learning to create situations where we can be together.
“That’s why we have them ... because we want to spend time with them.”
While some people have asked, however, a similar event for the feline residents of Kenmore probably isn’t happening.
“They just don’t have any interest in getting together in large groups,” Foster said with a laugh.