Animal-lovers gather for annual Davis Dog Fair

Jun 2 2013 - 10:06pm

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FARMINGTON -- Kenzie's gaze narrowed to a laser focus as her prey fled.

Primal instincts aroused, the mini dachshund pup strained at her pink harness until her owner released the hound. A "squirrel," really a scrap of fuzzy fabric, was the lure attached to a large loop of twine, driven by a motor to rotate around the grassy track.

The squirrel sped ahead, leaving the low-rider pup to drag her body over a plastic pipe placed in the path to make larger dogs jump.

"She loves it," said owner Michelle Ferrell, of Kaysville, who brought her two dogs on Saturday to the Davis Dog Fair. "I videotaped her last run. She looked like a performance dog, a circus dog."

Kenzie, 11 months, was one of dozens of dogs to enjoy the netting-fenced lure course, set up by Course a'Lure (www.coursealure.com), of Bountiful.

"Dogs weren't meant to sit on couches all day," said Cyndi Conwell, who owns the business and three Jack Russell terriers with husband Bob.

"A tired dog is a happy dog."

The second annual Davis Dog Fair, at the Legacy Events Center, featured adoptions and vendors selling toys, grooming, veterinary and grooming services, and dog massages. A shaved-ice truck sold all the usual fruit flavors, plus chicken/beef blend for the canine crowd.

People attending, with their dogs or without, gathered for a performance by the Davis County Sheriff's K-9 specialists. Officers signaled their dogs in an exercise to simulate sniffing out drugs and assisting in dangerous arrests.

Clint Thacker, director of Davis County Animal Care & Control, took multiple plunges in a dunking booth, joking with bystanders that for anyone whose roaming dog ever got picked up, this was a chance to get even.

"It's for a good cause," Thacker said.

The event was a benefit for the Davis County Animal Adoption program, but organizer Sandy McKinnon said last year's fair only made $20 or so. McKinnon, a secretary at the Legacy Events Center, produces the fair as a volunteer. The event has no budget, so can't advertise, and charges vendors no fees because it can't guarantee a crowd.

"Last year was quite a success," McKinnon said. "The whole goal is to bring people together who love dogs, to do adoptions and low-cost immunizations, and to let people have a fun day out with their dogs."

Across from the lure course, toy breeds were being coaxed and cajoled through an agility course by their owners. Brittany and Robert Ricks, of Magna, looked on with their two infants, in carriers, and with daughter Kaylee, 3.

"We're here for Kaylee," Brittany Ricks said. "She wanted to come, but we all love dogs. We have two labs at home. "

"It's a lot of fun," Robert Ricks said. "We're up here fairly often because they do lots of dog agility runs here. Kaylee loves it."

Kaylee's favorite part?

"I like playing in the water," she said, returning from a full toddler pool set up to keep dogs hydrated.

Back at the dog lure course, Lila pulled at her collar, whimpering and yelping.

"I know it's killing you inside," said owner Emily Norwood, of Sandy. Lila, a suspected Australian shepherd/corgi mix with a weight problem, fixed her eyes on that same beguiling squirrel.

Freed, Lila scrambled as fast as her corgi-esque legs would allow.

"She loves chasing that squirrel thing," Norwood said. "The Aussie is a herding breed. She tries to be athletic because it's pure enjoyment for her. Normally, we don't let our dogs chase things, so this is a great chance to be a dog."

Nearby, Ferrell and friend Alex Denham, of North Salt Lake, were fastening a leash on dachshund Kenzie's pink harness, and picking up second tiny dog, poodle Charlie.

"I wish we could stay longer," Denham said. "It's nice to be with the dogs and the dog people, and Kenzie had a great time chasing that squirrel. She sure wasn't the fastest, but they said she won the award for biggest heart."

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