Treat your dog to a day in the park — and so much more. The Beaver County Kennel Club is hosting “AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day” in Brady’s Run Park next Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is free and owners are encouraged to bring their dogs. There’s a pet costume parade at 1 p.m.
That’s the ”good news” part of this column. Here’s the bad news: The Orphans of the Storm animal shelter in Kittanning is closed until at least July 1 because of a distemper outbreak.
The wonderful people at the all-volunteer no-kill shelter work hard to find homes for nearly 800 dogs and cats each year. Now the shelter needs help, especially money to build a new shelter at a different location. The current building floods every year and has no space to quarantine sick animals.
More on canine distemper later in this column. The disease kills, so keep your dog vaccinations current.
Now back to the fun stuff.
At Brady’s Run Park (it’s on Route 51, two miles north of Beaver), check out “My Dog Can Do That.” It’s a mini agility course where BCKC members will show you and your dog how to navigate jumps, hurdles and tunnels. Most dogs enjoy agility courses. Although this is an American Kennel Club event, mixed-breed dogs are welcome at Responsible Dog Ownership Day.
Well-trained dogs will demonstrate obedience, agility and fly ball. There will be grooming demonstrations that include tips on clipping or grinding canine toenails and brushing teeth and coats. There will be food trucks, a bake sale, vendors, activities for children and information about local rescue organizations. Your dog might be able to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.
Club members will present “Meet The Breeds,” explaining the strengths and drawbacks of the breeds they love. This is your chance to find out what a responsible breeder is, and why it’s better to get a puppy from them rather than from a pet store that buys puppies from large commercial breeding facilities. But no one will be selling puppies in the park.
The 100-member Beaver County Kennel Club has working been hard to put this together. And here’s a bonus: This event is at Pavilion 18, near the Beaver County dog park, which your dog might enjoy visiting.
No good deed goes unpunished. In April, Orphans of the Storm took in a litter of puppies for an overnight stay. Then they were transferred to Animal Friends in Ohio Township.
The puppies got sick, and tests showed they had the virulent distemper virus. Three adult dogs and several puppies died at the Kittanning shelter. Eight puppies and two adult dogs died at Animal Friends.
Although the adult dogs at both shelters had been vaccinated, the ones that died had compromised immune systems, officials said. Dogs adopted from both shelters right before the distemper was diagnosed have not gotten it.
Neither organization is bringing new dogs into their shelters, nor are they adopting out dogs until they are sure the virus is eradicated.
Orphans of the Storm needs more foster homes so that they can respond to emergency requests for shelter, including two mother dogs with very young nursing puppies.
Animal Friends has quarantine rooms to keep sick animals away from the rest of the population, so that shelter has not been completely closed to the public. Cats and rabbits can be adopted because they cannot get canine distemper.
Distemper is highly contagious for extended periods of time, so all canine events and training classes held at Animal Friends have been canceled. No dogs are showing signs of distemper at this time.
Both shelters have adoptable animals in foster homes, and they can still be adopted. Go to www.thinkingoutsidethecage.org or www.orphansofthestorm.petfinder.org to see adoptable animals.
On July 24, the Kittanning County Club is holding a golf outing, a four-person scramble, to raise money for Orphans of the Storm. Participants, sponsors and volunteers are needed. Contact Henry Wojciechowski at 724-545-9420 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the pro shop at 724-543-2044.
Panera Pup Walk
Former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch and his wife, Latasha, are again leading the Panera Pup Walk at the Waterfront in Homestead on June 12. Proceeds benefit the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.
Registration is at 9 a.m., and the walk starts at 10 a.m. The fee is $35 per dog the day of the event. Advance registration at www.PaneraPupWalk.org is $25. Limit of one dog for each person walking. All dogs must be leashed, but retractable leashes are a no-no.
Linda Wilson Fuoco: email@example.com or 412-263-3064 or on Facebook.