By EMIL WHITIS
Daily Press Staff Writer
What some may consider the most important pet social of the year, the third annual Who Let the Dogs Out event, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Dandy-Time Boarding Kennel. This year, the even is being held in honor of Artesia Police Department’s late canine police officer “Bronco,” and it is rumored that any pet who is any pet will be in attendance.
Veterinarians, dog trainers, law enforcement K-9 units and other pet experts will be in attendance to answer questions on pet health and training. According to Linda Moreno, owner of Dandy-Time Boarding Kennel and co-organizer for the event, Who Let the Dogs Out was first organized to afford local pet owners the opportunity to speak with animal experts from various fields concerning pet-based issues and to bridge the gap between the public and animal experts.
“It’s an opportunity for all pets and pet lovers to mingle, learn and just have fun,” said Moreno.
Moreno said she is extremely excited for this year’s activities and expects to see anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people (dependent on the weather) in attendance along with their pets.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun mixed in with education and learning about your pet,” said Moreno.
Ten organizations ranging from the Artesia Animal Clinic to the El Paso Border Patrol K-9 Units will set up informational booths to answer whatever questions come their way. Local radio station KZ93 will also be in attendance offering free hot dogs and soft drinks.
Registration will begin promptly at 10 a.m.
At 10:30 a.m., the first event will commence, as the El Paso Border Patrol demonstrates how their K-9 units find people and drugs. Moreno said she will play the “bad guy” role during the demonstration by hiding in the trunk of a car while the trained dogs search for her.
“I’m really pleased the Border Patrol committed to participate,” said Moreno. “It’s a pretty big step that shows how this thing has grown.”
At 11 a.m., Maddy Melka will demonstrate the herding prowess of her Border Collies in a goat herding show.
An agility course event for both large and small dogs will commence at 11:45 a.m. Moreno said the event is not competitive and no prior experience is necessary.
At 12:30 p.m., the “Mel Belly Contest” will begin. The contest is sponsored by Dee and Candi Toth in honor of their late rescue K-9, Mel Belly. As opposed to most dog shows and contests, the “Mel Belly Contest” will evaluate contestants on the sway of the back and the droop of the belly, said Moreno.
“The most important characteristic of a Mel Belly champion is the jiggle factor of the contestant’s belly,” she said.
A prettiest pup contest for both large and small pups will be held at 1:15 p.m.
Another Border Patrol hide and seek demonstration will be held at 1:45 a.m. followed by another showing by Maddy Melka’s Collies. This time the event will include Delta Group Certified Border Collies.
Canine Behaviorist and featured guest speaker, Judi Halliburton, will give a presentation on communication between canine owners and their canines. The workshop will focus on voice intonation and body language.
“I’m surprised someone of … (Halliburton’s) … stature would be so excited to participate … I could listen to her talk about dogs all day … she’s like an encyclopedia,” said Moreno.
A question and answer session will be held immediately following the presentation for those who have questions pertaining to specific dog/owner situations.
Moreno said the event has grown each year since its inception two years ago and she hopes the trend continues indefinitely. She said the inspiration for Who Let the Dogs Out came from a perceived disconnect between her business and the community.
“My business was doing well but I didn’t feel a connection with the community,” said Moreno.
After explaining the problem to her sister, Wilma Arroyos of Las Cruces, they immediately began organizing the first Who Let the Dogs Out, she said. Two weeks later the idea was a reality. At the end of the first event people began asking “are you going to do it again?” she said.
“It just expanded from there,” said Moreno.
This year’s event has been advertised in Hobbs, Carlsbad, Roswell and Ruidoso.
For more information contact Linda Moreno at 746-4009.
By EMIL WHITIS