The cat’s meow and the dog’s bark

May. 10, 2013 @ 06:03 AM

Those who opened their hearts and homes to abandoned pets will be honored during the Community Pet Center’s (CPC) seventh annual Community Pet Festival at Crowe Park on Saturday.

The festival begins at 11:30 a.m. and continues until 3:30 p.m.

“The one thing I’m really looking forward to personally is honoring those people who have saved and rescued a pet,” said Lynne Faltraco, executive director of the CPC. “We don’t always get an opportunity to spotlight or feature those people, and a lot of times they don’t necessarily want to be recognized. They just do it because of their kind hearts, because they love what they do and they care a lot about animals.”

A variety of activities are scheduled in celebration of people who have rescued animals, including a blessing of the animals at 12:30 p.m. and pet contests during every hour beginning at noon. Categories include best costume, best tricks, best dancer and longest tail.

In addition, a special ceremony is planned at 1:30 p.m. to honor and recognize three pet rescue individuals, whose identities will be revealed at the festival.

“I think it’s important to show the community what a great job these rescuers are doing,” Faltraco said.

Food, raffles, pony rides, a petting zoo and a DJ will all be included in the festival, and the CPC will also provide rabies shots and micro-chipping services for pets.

Faltraco said the CPC will have a few pets available for adoption at the festival and will have photos featuring additional pets that are currently residing at the shelter.

“Sometimes people don’t always know the caliber of pets that come into the shelter,” Faltraco said. “We have some amazing animals that come through those gates.”

The CPC is a non-profit organization that partners with Rutherford County Animal Control (RCAC) and the Sheriff’s Department to assist with adoptions, rescues and returning animals to owners. The organization also provides education to the community about responsible pet ownership and creates awareness about pet over-population through spay and neutering programs.

One of the CPC’s programs involves working with schools throughout the county to encourage students to volunteer at the shelter and various events in exchange for community service hours and help with school projects.

According to the CPC and RCAC, pet rescuers are having a major impact recently. Statistics show that the number of animals rescued from the county’s animal shelter has increased over the past few years. A total of 2,121 animals were saved from the shelter in 2012.

“My husband and I have had shelter pets over the years and the three that we have right now all came from the animal shelter,” Faltraco said. “They make amazing pets. I think the pets intuitively know that somebody cares about them and doesn’t want them to stay in the shelter.”

The pet festival is a great opportunity for the community to have fun, find out about responsible pet care and see which animals are available for adoption. Rescuers and all attendees are encouraged to bring their pets to the festival.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and without the public’s support we can’t do what we do, which is save the animals,” said the CPC on its Facebook page.

“The festival and the shelter have helped save a lot of four-legged lives,” Faltraco said. “This is really what it’s all about — saving pets one at a time.”