Always a good time, we attended the 2009 Loveland Reporter-Herald PetExpo the end of February. Preparation begins several weeks prior as we make arrangements for our exhibit space and submit photos for the insert that comes out in the paper. While there is a fee for submitting pet photos, half of it goes to the Larimer Humane Society so we’re more than happy to help support the local shelter. It’s also good incentive to have current photos of our pets … a momento of their life when all that remains is a memory and a pawprint on our hearts.
As this was our fourth year of attending the Expo, packing the day before is down to a science … grab the storage tub containing our booth supplies, review the inventory of educational handouts, pull books from the home library, and then get it all in the vehicle. Last, but certainly not least, the dog(s) that will be attending get a bath so as to put their best foot forward for the breed. If a foster is not available to attend, our dogs are taken to serve as ambassadors for the breed. I always try to have one in coat there as most people have never seen an Apso in full coat outside the show ring. Makes for some very interesting conversations with the most frequent comment being, “You must have to brush this coat daily!” The big surprise is … I don’t do daily grooming!
We arrive early to unload and get set up — table display and dogs in place before the crowds start to arrive. Looking across the large room, I see many exhibitors from past years and some new faces. Later on, we’ll take a break and go visit the other booths … bronze statues, K9 photographers, pet crematorium, pet cemetery, dog bakery, canine massage therapist, to name a few. All interesting when one has the time to browse.
This year, we were one of the few rescues in attendance and probably the only rescue with dogs in tow. Having Dante there in coat pretty much guarantees we’ll see a lot of traffic at our booth and this year was no exception. I love talking to the kids and seeing their reaction when they get to pet him … the little girls are especially fascinated with him. The parents laugh when I tell them that “my husband calls this my Barbie doll.” We’re also quick to point out that the breed comes in a “wash’n’wear” version, showing them one in a puppy cut.
The dogs are on their best behavior and clearly enjoy the interaction with folks stopping to chat. Dante took a shine to one little guy and proceeded to clean the top of his head for him … much to the boy’s delight. At one point, we had a line of folks waiting to greet the dogs. The day winds down and we start packing up all the gear, already thinking how we can add to the experience for next year’s visitors.
All in all, it’s a great way to connect with like-minded members of the community and educate folks about this unique breed that shares our heart and hearth.