By Heather Regula, Correspondent
Thousands of animal enthusiasts and pet lovers flooded the Bell County Expo Center in support of the 3rd Annual Pet Adoption Extravaganza, hosted by Rescue Magazine, on Saturday, September 15. Tickets were $6 per adult, and children 12 and under, and dogs with proof of proper vaccinations, were free. The Master of Ceremonies, Sammy Fox, entertained event-goers and mingled with the crowd.
“This is the second year serving as Master of Ceremonies, and it’s one of my favorite gigs. I love animals so much. I’ve always been the one who helps train everyone else’s dogs! I’m thrilled to be here today helping Rescue Magazine with their Pet Adoption Extravaganza,” stated Fox. “I have my four-year-old boxer, Bentley, here with me today. I’ve had him since he was about four weeks old. He’s well-trained and loves being here!”
Rescue Magazine’s annual Pet Adoption Extravaganza drew a record crowd Saturday.
“This is our third year hosting this event, and our goal is to help adopt out 200 dogs. Last year, we adopted out about 140 dogs. All of these rescue organizations, vendors, and groups gathered here today are doing an incredible job of raising public awareness and educating people,” explained Ron Ducharme, of Rescue Magazine. “Anyone who adopts an animal here today receives a free leash, collar, and toy for their new pet. There is a low-cost shot clinic on site so those who adopt can get the shots taken care of inexpensively, while they are here. We want people going home with a new pet today to have everything they need.”
Saturday’s event featured 32 rescue organizations and shelters from all over Texas, 64 vendors, a bounce house, climbing wall, petting zoo, and a variety of non-profit organizations.
John and Carol Paonessa, of Royce City, traveled to Belton to represent the Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue at the Pet Adoption Extravaganza. Information about this statewide dog rescue can be found online at http://txpyrs.org/jsp/Main.jsp.
“We are not a true brick and mortar dog rescue. The Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue rescues dogs, and we house them in our homes, nursing them back to health and caring for them as needed. Each area in Texas has a coordinator, and we work together to care for these great dogs,” remarked John Paonessa. “My wife and I have volunteered with this organization for three years, and we have fostered over 100 dogs. The more we got into the dog fostering, the more involved we got with the rescue.”
Jenny Strack, a volunteer with Texas Gulf Coast Bull Terrier Rescue, was at Saturday’s Pet Adoption Extravaganza with her bull terrier, Elton. Information about the organization and the animals available for adoption can be found at https://www.petfinder.com/member/us/tx/sugar-land/texas-gulf-coast-bull-terrier-rescue-tx1217/.
“We pull bull terriers from all over Texas. Elton’s owner passed away and I fostered him, which led to my eventually adopting him. Bull terriers are incredibly special animals. These dogs will make you laugh every day, and they love to snuggle,” stated Strack. “Today I’m educating people about our organization and the animals we have available.”
Attendees at the Pet Adoption Extravaganza perused the various vendors and watched live demonstrations.
“We adopted our Chihuahua, Petey, about three months ago. He is nine months old now, and today we are shopping for accessories for him. My husband, Sean, likes to spoil him,” laughed Hanna Ayers. “We live in Gatesville, and we love coming to this event! It’s so cool to see all of the animals, and the accessories that are available! We enjoyed watching the military working dog demonstration.”
Rescue Magazine, founded in 2012, started as a one-page flyer and has grown to a 74-page magazine featuring 70 rescue organizations. Rescue Magazine also raises funds and collects food and supplies to help animals in Central Texas. More information about the magazine and the animals available for adoption can be found online at https://www.rescuemagazine.org/.