The "I Love My Dog" Show will be Saturday, Sept. 30. This totally fun show is sponsored by the Soroptimists of Payson. There will be classes to determine the best dressed, largest, smallest, most spots, dog and owner look-alike, fastest tail wag, best trick and the obstacle course. Ribbons, trophies and raffle prizes will be abundant. The show will be at Rumsey Park, ramada 5. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the show begins at 10 a.m. Pet owners of all ages are encouraged to come with their dogs and have a great time. Registration is $5 and there is a $1 charge to run the agility course. You must pay the registration fee to run the course. All proceeds go back into the community.
A rally course was followed for the dog show at the fair last weekend. There was some confusion as to when and where this dog event would be, so the turnout was light. But those who participated did very well and we all had fun.
Dog Day in the Park is Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Payson Off Leash Dog Park. There will be games and contests and lots of fun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Payson Humane Society will be there with dogs to adopt. City and county licenses will be available and there will be testing for Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog International. A rally course will be set up. A fairly decent heel position, a loose lead and a dog that pays attention are the essentials for rally. Judges look for teamwork between dog and handler. It is fun.
The time is now to get working with your dog to prepare for these shows. A little obedience training, some tricks and a great costume will put you in good standing for a ribbon.
Many area kids showed their animals at the Northern Gila County Fair. The market animals have all been sold and the kids are making plans for next year. Unfortunately, many buyers do not realize how much it costs to raise an animal for market and some of the bids were not high enough to pay the actual expenses. The kids do keep good records of all of these expenses but too often, that information is not passed along to those who are bidding on the animals. The kids should post their expenses on the pen and the buyers should make note of them. Many thanks to all who supported the fair, the livestock auction, the kids and all their many projects.
I had a rabies scare up here in Strawberry. A stray cat wandered into my yard and then died in my yard. He was obviously sick and I was rather concerned, petrified actually, that it might have had rabies. Officer Miller from Gila County Animal Control came for the cat and it was sent to Phoenix for testing. After waiting four agonizing days, the report came back negative for rabies. However, the cat was definitely sick. Whether this was a feral cat or a stray, whatever disease it had will most likely be spreading to the feral cat population. Those who have cats need to keep them immunized and inside if possible. The rest of us need to be part of the TNR, Trap, Neuter and Release, program. That is the only way to humanely control the feral cat population.
Remember the dogs that killed the mountain lion that tested positive for rabies? None of them were current with their rabies shots. If you saw the photo exhibit at the fair last weekend, you would have seen the dog with his mouth attached to the lion's neck. Quite a photo. Four of the dogs were euthanized. The fifth one is locked in a small kennel in Globe for six months. That is like being in jail for three years for a person. Some dogs never recover from that kind of confinement. And Globe does not have the staff or budget to give these confined dogs the best of care. It is easier to avoid it that to worry about it. Get your dog vaccinated. Keep the rabies vaccination current.
Last year was a record year for rabies in Arizona and this year appears to be following that trend. Elisabeth Lawaczeck, State Public Health Veterinarian, Office of Infectious Diseases Services, Arizona Department of Health Services, just provided me the yearly totals through August. There have been five confirmed cases in Gila County including three fox, one coyote and one mountain lion. Pima County has had 48 cases including 36 bats. A domestic cat in Santa Cruz County was infected with a strain of rabies found in skunks. The coyote and mountain lion in Gila County were infected with the Arizona gray fox strain. Dr. Lawaczeck said, "We actually have 100 rabid animals year-to-date now. It is so important to keep your dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies and to never let it lapse." She stresses, "Do not ever let the rabies vaccination become overdue."