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Fete fido at South Hill celebration

The Southside Senior and Community Center is celebrating man’s best friend on Saturday.

“It’s a chance for community to come together around something they love,” said Claudia Craven, a volunteer at the center who’s organizing the event.

Fido Fete will feature demonstrations, workshops, raffles, food trucks and a beer garden.

The Ruff Revue will perform dances and tricks. Other dogs will give agility and Treibball demonstrations. (Treibball is sort of like soccer for dogs, Craven said.)

Workshops will cover a variety of topics, including training, pet first aid and holistic health care.

Representatives from area animal shelters, rescue groups and businesses will be there. The Spokane Human Society will have a vaccine and microchip clinic. And, of course, there will be some animals looking for new homes.

Also on the schedule: Officer Todd Belitz will be there with Zeus, one of the Spokane Police Department’s six K-9s.

It’s an opportunity for the community to see how the dogs are used, the relationship between the dog and the handler and how they work as a team, Belitz said.

Zeus is 3 years old, and he and Belitz have been together since September, first in training, then on patrol starting in late November.

Belitz said that at community events, he usually demonstrates how Zeus helps with searches and take downs.

“It’s always neat to see people’s reactions,” he said.

He also talks about training techniques, the languages he uses to give Zeus commands (Dutch, German and English), and working dogs in general.

Zeus and he are a team, he said.

“He protects me and I protect him,” Belitz said. “… In turn we protect the community.”

And though the police dogs are extremely athletic and strong, they’re also very social and people are allowed to pet them at events, Belitz said.

“Zeus is a ham and he loves all the kids petting him.”


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