CLEARFIELD – The third annual Mountain Laurel Kennel Club Pet Expo drew a record crowd yesterday and featured some unusual animals among the rescue groups and vendors.
Several hundred humans and pets attended the day-long gala. Most of the animals were dogs but two Sphinx breed cats braved the predominantly canine crowd. Expo-goers stopped them often to ask questions and admire their distinctive, hairless profiles.
“That’s why we have this event, to educate and promote responsible pet ownership, no matter what the species,” said MLKC President Geremy Kephart.
Terri and Tonya Wallace’s Bengal cats were another popular display that drew spectators with many questions about the rare breed.
“We are thrilled they could come this year. They really carried the banner for the cat lovers. Everyone commented on how unusual and beautiful they are,”Kephart noted.
Also garnering lots of attention were Shawn and Angela Wilson and their corn snake, Miss No Legs, who is a very sweet-tempered, charming reptile. Between warming periods in her aquarium, she wound around Shawn’s neck and arms and allowed herself to be petted. She was a big hit with children and even helped a few adults overcome their phobia of snakes.
“We had a lot of basic questions about how they grow and how long they live. I think I helped steer one woman to the right snake for her grandson. She wanted a snake much too big for him to handle and care for and I made some recommendations for a more appropriate type. There is a lot of misinformation out there about reptiles,” Wilson said.
Another highlight of the event was the certification of 14 dogs, nine with Canine Good Citizen credentials and five as Therapy Dogs by Therapy Dogs International. TDI-certified dogs use their ability to calm and cheer while visiting patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities.
Programs at the expo included demonstrations by K-9 Officer Zeus and Officer Jim Ward of the Curwensville Police Department, Smokey, Clearfield County’s Search and Rescue dog and Diana Gray-Puit, students of Class Act Dog Training and choosing a breeder by Marthena Scollen, breeder of one of the country’s oldest Weimaraner lines.
New to the event was the Panorama of Purebreds, a dog show featuring 30 different breeds, in addition to the more informal Meet and Greet the Breeds.
The Pet Expo is the MLKC’s largest awareness event and fundraiser with proceeds earmarked for education efforts.