Puppies on parade for new homes

By Erin Kolb

Hopkins Park, 1403 Sycamore Road, went to the dogs this weekend for TAILS Humane Society’s eighth annual Mutt Strut, Funfest and 5K-9 run.

The event featured vendors, agility demonstrations and pet contests, and the public was encouraged to participate with their furry friends. TAILS executive director Beth Drake said the event was held to remind people how important their pets are.

“We want to raise awareness of how pets are a huge part of people’s lives,” Drake said. “People can have so much fun with their pets.”

Drake said she also hoped people would realize TAILS, 2250 Barber Greene Road, is the best place to adopt a pet. The 5K-9 run raised money for the shelter. Drake said in the past, about $30,000 was raised each year and the event was expected to raise as much this year.

Some parts of the event were free, like the Windy City K-9 Disc Club demonstrations, which were new this year. Rob Wyka, who ran the demonstrations with his dogs Roxy and Mojo, knows firsthand how much fun people can have with their pets.

“Our big thing is we’re a group of friends who get together to play with our dogs,” Wyka said. “We fell into this; no one really seeks this sort of thing out.”

Wyka said all of the dogs in the club are rescue dogs who were considered to be too high-energy for a normal family.

“Rescue dogs make the best Frisbee dogs,” Wyka said. “Mutts are the best breed.”

Another energetic sport for dogs were the agility demonstrations, which featured an obstacle course for dogs to run through. Cindy Martin, of DeKalb, brought her border collie, Storm, to the event for the first time this year.

“Classes definitely help with training,” Martin said. “We started working with just one jump, so she could get the hang of it. We have to shape behavior first.”