2018 is the Chinese zodiac Year of the Dog, but on Saturday every dog had its day at the third annual Fido Fete at Southside Senior and Community Center.
Golden retrievers mingled with goldendoodles while their owners perused more than two dozen booths and displays.
At noon, Spokane Chinese Association dancers performed two traditional dances, including a dance about love, which seemed appropriate to the crowd of dog lovers.
“I like dogs because sometimes they play nice,” said Elizabeth Aaron, 6.
She, her mom, and her grandmother Suzy Smith paused to check out the adoptable dogs at the Spokane Humane Society booth.
They’d brought their dog Tiger so he could hang out with some canine pals. Their older dog had recently died and Tiger has been sad.
“We thought we’d bring him here and let him socialize,” Smith said.
A Humane Society worker introduced the family to a small dog named Happy, who recently had to have his teeth removed.
“I have a new tooth,” Elizabeth responded, pulling down her lower lip. She’s still waiting for her upper front teeth to grow.
“Is his name Happy because he likes to be happy?” she asked, while cradling the toothless dog in her arms.
An agility course had been set up nearby.
Annette Shannon, owner of Approved by Dogs, brought her Australian shepherds to demonstrate their talents. She’s a regular at the Fido Fete.
“I like to help the center,” she said. “They offer a lot of great things at affordable prices.”
She also designed this year’s Fido Fete T-shirts.
“Spokane is a dog community,” she said.
As a toddler climbed through the tunnel on the agility course, Stephanie Schildt, 25, coaxed Cooper, her golden retriever, over the jumps and through the weave poles.
“He’s my first dog,” she said. “He’s never done this before. He’s got so much energy!”
Cooper capably worked his way through the poles, then sat and high-fived Schildt, earning a well-deserved treat.
Featured vendors offered a variety of practical goods and services. Helium-filled emoji poop balloons heralded Dooky’s Poop Scoop Service.
Melissa Simon, who owns the company with her husband, John, sat near a bowl of Tootsie Rolls.
“We’ve been in business since 2010,” she said. “We clean 5,000 yards a year – 100 yards each week.”
Across the room, D.J. Guy and her twin sister, Denise, promoted Dogology NW.
“We’re dog behaviorists,” D.J. Guy said. “We go to people’s homes and resolve any issues.”
She said the two most common issues they address are aggression and leash-pulling.
“We guarantee results on the first visit or they don’t pay,” D.J. Guy said.
Nearby, Heather Deater has developed another answer to leash-pulling. The Gulf War vet and owner of seven dogs created a two-handed trail leash for canines compelled to bolt after deer or other animals while hiking.
“They’re trail sticks with attachable paracord leashes. The patent is pending,” she said. “They offer more control and reduce arm fatigue.”
For many event attendees, the Doggy Fashion Show is a much anticipated highlight.
Melissa Schmitz, of Pawing Around Pet Clothing, brought seven dogs and more than 30 changes of clothes for the runway event.
She makes and sells everything from couture wedding gowns to beach bikinis to fashion collars.
“Yes, we know it’s ridiculous, but it’s so much fun!” she said. “A lot of us don’t have kids or our kids are grown and gone and our dogs are our kids.”
Schmitz described the fashion show as a “puppy version of ‘Toddlers and Tiaras.’ ”
Three recently graduated Ferris High School teens who’d come to the Fete to see the dogs were asked to help with the show.
“This is fun!” said Haylee Summers, 17, as she cradled Polka Dottie, a Chihuahua, who was wearing an Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts costume.
That outfit paled next to Missy Moo, who modeled a Cleopatra getup, while her doggy pal Oscar sported King Tut regalia.
Elvis and Marilyn Monroe ensembles also made an appearance.
Fido Fete organizer Claudia Craven said the annual event is a lot of work, but it’s worth it when she watches families and their canine companions enjoying themselves.
“It broadens our appeal with things not specifically related to seniors,” she said. “It’s a fundraiser for us. We earn a few bucks and get our name out into the world.”
For more information about Southside Senior and Community Center, visit the center’s website or call (509) 535-0803.
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