Fall-a PAW-Looza happens Saturday (Oct. 13) from 1-4 p.m. at 10,000 Wags, 24822 U.S. 64 west. The event is free to the public.
There are so many ways to celebrate fall in Taos and embrace the first frost on the pumpkin: hot cider brewing, green chile roasting at the door of local markets and the fall leaves changing to a glorious cascade of gold, red and rusty brown. It's a time of year for stacking the woodpile and taking long fall hikes, perhaps this year with a four-legged friend.
Stray Hearts Animal Shelter has you covered with a special fall celebration that includes a dog and cat adoption opportunity. They call it Fall-a PAW-Looza, and it all happens Saturday (Oct. 13) from 1-4 p.m. at 10,000 Wags, 24822 U.S. 64 west. The event is free to the public.
Donna Karr wears many hats as a three-year veteran at Stray Hearts. She coordinates adoption events and social media. She also pilots the spay-neuter van and works on facility projects. She said this is the first year for this fall event, but if it is successful, it may become an annual.
"10,000 Wags wanted to have an adoptathon at their place, but it concerned them that their location was too far from town. So, they suggested we turn it into a festival," she said. "One of our board members, Ruth Waterhouse, came up with the name."
Karr said there will be a pumpkin patch, animal adoption and some local high schools taking part. "Vista Grande High School and Taos Middle School will offer skill games," she continued. "Jessica Wu from KNCE-FM 93.5 will put together a playlist for music. We'll have a pet costume contest, where 10,000 Wags is offering prizes, such as doggie daycare and gift baskets. We'll have food vendors, but I don't have all those nailed down yet. Hot chocolate, root beer floats, hot dogs, possibly empanadas, all between $1-4. Three of the local dog trainers will be there: Tad Schmidt, Delinda Vanbrighten and Jane Gerard. Search and Rescue will have a table there. Some local artists will have items to sell. A local company, Casa Animales will have some New Mexico-style dog houses for sale."
Karr said there also will be applications and adoption counselors available on-site for those wishing to add a furry friend to their family.
"If the potential adopters have another dog," she said, "there's enough room to do meetings with the dogs. We hope to have all the dogs spayed or neutered, so they will be ready to go home. We hope to have puppies. We stopped bringing cats to the events because they get too stressed, but we'll have a board with photos and bios to let people know who is available."
Karr said there are a few projects for which Stray Hearts would like to use the proceeds from the event.
"We started out intending to raise money for an outdoor puppy play space, but we received a donation for that," she said. "Other projects on my list are a socializing room for acclimating our feral dogs to being indoors and repairing rusted door frames to improve our ability to sanitize the dog areas. Also on our list is to install pressure washers in the dog pods to save water. Our water bill is currently $800 a month. Those projects don't sound as fun as a puppy play space, but they are still needed. I'm a retired engineer, so the nerd in me finds joy in fixing problems."
Karr added she hopes this event will bring out all the "animal lovers of Taos County to have fun with the games and shopping and show off their pets' costumes. This is a great way to show support for Stray Hearts at a fun event." The pumpkin patch will be decorated with straw bales and scarecrows according to Karr. "I'm still working on getting pumpkins donated that we can sell. If no one does, I'll buy them myself."
For more information, call Stray Hearts at (575) 758-2981 or visit strayhearts.org.
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