Ruffing It

So every dog really does have his day -- we had no idea the expression would prove so literal. On the local level, that day is Saturday, October 12, when some of the Valley's most enthusiastic party animals are unleashed in Mesa's Cooley Park for Barktoberfest 2002. A celebration of Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, the event benefits Friends for Life Animal Sanctuary, a volunteer-based, nonprofit animal-welfare organization.

While the day may not incorporate some of your dog's most specific notions of paradise -- hump-ready legs of all shapes and sizes, an open bar pouring toilet water bottled by year and municipality, dog butts as far as the eye can see -- Barktoberfest should please the pooch nonetheless. Part dog wash, part merchant bazaar, the event is set to include demonstrations, music, food, raffles and a measure of healthy competition. Contests crown top dogs in terms of costume and obedience, as well as owner and pet who most resemble each other. With obstacle course runs and an egg-and-dog race, Barktoberfest offers plenty of action, but the day isn't all dog-eat-dog. The fest promotes the arts as well: "Painting Paws" artworks created by rescued dogs and cats will be available for perusal and purchase.

According to Friends for Life's Jannelle Cosgriff, the no-kill shelter generally has at least 50 dogs in its care. "We hope Barktoberfest brings awareness of the many dogs and cats looking for homes, the programs we offer the public, and how the community can help by volunteering, adopting or donating," she says.

And since Valley cats will be none too pleased about being excluded from the fun, Barktoberfest sponsor Starbucks is making them the focus of its monthlong "Meowloween" promotion. Folks who bring photos of their costumed cats into the coffee shop, 2048 East Baseline in Mesa, are eligible to win a year's supply of coffee. Caffeine and cats . . . sounds like a delightful combination.

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Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch