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Pups on parade this weekend
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A festival of all things furry is planned this weekend at the second annual Pups in the Park Dog Show.

The event will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Rock Creek Park.

"We have a jam-packed day starting with a 5K run," said Carolyn Bowen, president of the Dawson County Humane Society. "Then at 11:30, there will be pup parade, featuring pups dressed for the occasion, with the animals from the shelter and those that have been adopted out of the shelter leading the way."

A collaborative effort of several local organizations, proceeds from the event will benefit the local shelter.

"We've gotten almost all the service clubs in the county helping with this, so it's community involvement and family fun. We just want it to be a fun way to showcase peoples' pets," Bowen said.

Among the pups that will be dressed up for a fun day at the park is Bowen's red Doberman Maggie, who was taken to the shelter in the summer of 2009 along with her nine newborn puppies.

"Not long after she came to the shelter, she was adopted by a woman, Pam Murray, a tremendous supporter of the shelter," Bowen said. "Not to long after she got Maggie, Pam found out she had cancer."

Murray was able to get Maggie registered as a trained service dog to be with her during her five-year battle with the disease.

"After Pam passed away, Maggie needed a new home and came to live with me," Bowen said. "That's just one of many stories of animals from our shelter that have helped people.

"Animals are so important to people, and they enrich the lives of people."

In addition to a dog and owner look-alike contest, a costume contest, a cutest dog contest and the ugliest dog contest, Pups in the Park will also include demonstrations from dogs trained for search and rescue missions.

With a mission to give shelter to homeless dogs and cats of Dawson County, the humane society is funded through grants, donations, fundraisers and proceeds from a re-sale shop, along with monetary support from Dawson through an animal control contract.

"We struggle just with operating expenses," Bowen said. "But all of these efforts is what it takes to keep us going."

A variety of food, pet item vendors, arts and crafts and entertainment will also be available, as well as microchipping by volunteer vets.

"We think this is going to be a fun day for the entire family," Bowen said. "What we need now are people to come out to the event."

For more information, call (706) 265-9160.