"Every dog must have his day," wrote Jonathan Swift.
For the Rim country's canines, that day will be Saturday in the Payson Off Leash Dog Park.
"Dog Day in the Park," sponsored by PAWS in the Park and Payson Parks and Recreation, promises "something for every dog, and some cat stuff, too," according to event chairperson Christy Wrather.
"What could be greater than spending the day in the park with your dog and your family?" Wrather asked rhetorically.
"And you just might enjoy meeting other crazy dog people along the way. That is the best!"
Scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., this free-to-the-public celebration of man's best friend will offer fun and games for pets and people, contests, loads of prizes and ribbons for youngsters and adults, free nail clipping for dogs, and vendor booths larded with toys, pet supplies, pet beds, food, treats, pet art, and information on health and grooming.
A photographer will be on hand with a collection of pooch-photo props; the Payson Humane Society will operate an on-site adoption center; a dog groomer will demonstrate essential ear, nail and teeth care at 1:30 p.m. in the grandstand; Kodiak the K-9 Cop will show off his skills at 1 p.m. in the game field as Payson Police Officer Les Barr fields canine-corps questions; local veterinarians will provide reduced-rate vaccinations; and both city and county dog licenses will be available.
For shots and licensing, pet shot and neutering records will be required.
The contests to be judged by prominent Paysonites will begin with a costume competition set to begin at 11 a.m. at the grandstand. It includes three categories for both adults and children 12 and under: Funniest Costume, Dog-and-Owner Look-alike, and Judges' Choice.
At 11:30 in the game field, there will be a cross-species version of Musical Chairs; at noon, the pets of young and old will vie at Silly Pet Tricks; at 12:30 comes the Tail-Waggin' Contest; and at 2 p.m., there will be a costume race for which all regalia will be provided.
In addition to prizes and ribbons for two groups ages 12 and under and ages 13 and up a trove of pet-related gifts and products will be put up for raffle.
A series of demonstrations throughout the day will commence at 9:30 a.m. with agility and fly-ball demos at Rumsey 2 Ballpark north of Taylor Pool.
All other activities will take place in the dog park.
Meantime, PAWS T-shirts and doggie-treat recipe books will be sold, and edibles at dog-gone low prices will be served up by the "Barkery Bakery" (homemade treats for pets and people) and Dave's Famous Weenie Wagon (hot dogs and cold drinks).
All proceeds raised by these efforts are dog-earmarked for future improvements to the off-leash park and to help pay for the spaying and neutering of pets adopted during the event.
Although admission to Dog Day in the Park is free to all dogs, dog owners and dog fans, food donations to the Payson Humane Society will be welcomed. Dogs must be leashed and under their owners' control during this event in order to ensure safety and order for both pets and people.
For more information, call 476-2239.