Pups On Parade Saturday

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It's called Pups on Parade, but since the participating canines will be turned loose at Rumsey Park, it might be more appropriately called Puppy Pandemonium.

The brand new puppy and dog adoption event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the off-leash dog park at Rumsey Park.

"We may have a riot to begin with, but if they're like most of (the dogs who frequent the park) they'll just love it," Gil Frederick, president of the Payson Humane Society Auxiliary, said. "They're not used to being out so this is a wonderful opportunity for them as well as for families interested in adopting a dog."

Co-sponsored by the auxiliary and Paws in the Park, the group of dog owners who oversee and monitor the park, the event will allow prospective owners to see 12 or so adoptable dogs in action at the park rather than in their normal confines at the society's shelter on McLane Road. The two groups plan to hold the event on the first Saturday of each month.

"A lot of people just don't like to come down to the shelter because bad things happen there," auxiliary president Gil Frederick said. "So we thought, what a wonderful place to do it."

Mike Rokoff, Paws in the Park president, said it was an idea that struck several people all at once.

"We were standing here in the park talking about how to get more dogs adopted, and the idea just hit us out of nowhere," Rokoff said.

Even those dogs that don't end up getting adopted will enjoy the outing, Frederick believes.

"If you've been by the shelter recently, you would see that we're losing the field across the street," he said. "They're starting to build those low-cost apartments, so we're not going to have any place to run or walk the dogs, so the timing is great."

Payson Humane Society volunteers frequently exercised dogs on the site, commonly referred to as the Garcia property.

Frederick has been taking his dog, Charley, to the park since it opened. He says the facility creates a very different dynamic compared to walking your dog through a neighborhood.

"An amazing thing happens to them at the dog park -- a social thing," Frederick said. "They play and play and play and just love it."

Frederick says dogs at the park don't bark like neighborhood dogs do because they aren't protecting their own turf.

"Here it isn't their property, so they're just having fun," he said.

Frederick's dog, Charley, is a chow mix who came from the shelter.

"He was adopted three times by the shelter and brought back for one reason or another," he said. "They were going to put him down, so my wife and I took him home. Now he's like the official greeter at the dog park."

All the dogs that will be available for adoption Saturday have been spayed or neutered and are current on all their shots, including rabies. They can be adopted for a special fee of just $25.

Frederick said male dogs will wear blue bandannas and female dogs pink bandannas. The park also will be festooned with blue and pink balloons for the event.

The dog park, just north of the new Payson Public Library, is a 1.5-acre facility with separate fenced areas for large and small dogs. Paws in the Park is slowly adding exercise and agility equipment to the park, including a playhouse.

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