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Much more than mutts
Festival exceeds expectations
Mutts WEB 1
Dogs Zeus and Athena express their love for Beth Yarborough, left, and Maria Halbert during the 2012 Mutts & More Festival at Fowler Park. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Between five children and three dogs, Sarah Weaver had her hands full Saturday during the Mutts & More Festival at Fowler Park.

“As soon as we came out, they were searching for other dogs to play with,” Weaver said of her pets.

Weaver, a volunteer with Angels Among Us, was both helping with the group’s booth and attending the event with her family, something she said is a rarity for adoption events.

“This is the first adoption event that … includes my family so that they can come and have a good time and bring the puppies out. I love it.”

The event served two purposes, said co-chair Karen Deal.

The first is fundraising. All money raised from the festival, which Deal estimated was about $20,000, goes toward the Humane Society of Forsyth County’s No-Kill Shelter.

But the event also is designed as a pet adoption, with the society and other pet groups bringing dogs and cats looking for a family.

Nearly 40 dogs and cats were adopted from nine different rescue groups Saturday.

“The biggest success we had was the adoption of 39 animals,” Deal said.

While there was no official crowd count, Deal said between 7,000 and 10,000 people attended the festival and nearly all families had a couple of dogs, she said.

“We packed it,” she said. “It exceeded our expectations. I have been asking people who just attended the fair and everyone loved every bit of it.

“They loved the layout, they loved the location … and seeing all the dogs from the neighborhoods in the area, that was phenomenal.”

According to Deal, organizers have begun planning next year’s event, which will make minor tweaks to just about every aspect, including improved parking, more food vendors and additional demonstrations.

This year’s festival featured Dynamo Dogs performing tricks, businesses offering treats and pet food samples and thousands of local dogs, including Dede Skrip’s dog Shadow.

Skrip volunteers for the shelter, but said her family was excited to “get out here and walk the dogs and see all the different dogs.”

Lynn Laszlo was a little out of her element, Saturday. Laszlo runs a therapeutic horseback-riding organization for special needs children.

She was one of more than 130 vendors, including jewelers, pet businesses and restaurants, at the festival.

“It brings everybody together,” she said. “It lets you see what’s out there and what kind of opportunities are here. Like me. It’s a dog event and I’m here promoting horses.”