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Dogs get chips on shoulders as part of fundraising wash

August 17, 2008|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

It was a big day for dogs. And other furry friends, too, for that matter.

The Humane Society of Washington County has been delighting people and dogs alike for years with doggie baths and treats followed by shopping at its annual Pampered Pooch Dog Wash and Yard Sale fundraising event.

This year, the event sported a new name and bonus features, including rabies vaccine and microchip clinics, county dog licensing and 31 vendors spread across the lawn with a plethora of wares.

Judging by attendance and wagging tails, the Dog Wash and Flealess Market was a bigger hit than ever.

Dr. Tracy Barlup of Longmeadow Animal Hospital donated her services to the rabies vaccine and microchip clinics.

"It looks like a great turnout. When I got up to (Interstate 81), there were cars parked down to the exit," Barlup said. "I haven't witnessed any dogfights or catfights, so that's a good day."

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Katherine Cooker, the Humane Society's manager of development and public relations, said she was thrilled with public response to the new event. Dog baths cost $5, $10 or $15, depending on the size of the dog.

"We took in more than $300 from the dog wash alone by noon, and people continue to come," Cooker said. "I think a lot more people are coming because it's more and more fun. Plus, the clinics are drawing a lot of people."

Cooker said microchips, which provide identification to assist owners in retrieving lost pets, are gaining in popularity in animals such as dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and even in horses and cows. Winnie Kudirka of Keedysville stood in line waiting to get a microchip for her dog, Dooney, a yellow lab she adopted two months ago.

"We just adopted Dooney. If he'd have had a chip, he would have been able to go back to wherever he belonged," Kudirka said. "But now, he's our dog."

Kudirka said she was happy to read that the Humane Society was offering a microchip clinic, as she wanted to get one for Dooney, but she hoped to "keep the costs down." The Humane Society offered the service for a $15 fee, just a fraction of that charged by most veterinarians, Kudirka said.

Sheryl Moles, 48, of Hagerstown, took her 14-year-old yellow lab husky mix, Jaegermeister, to the event, along with a towel to donate to the Humane Society. Moles stood watching Jaegermeister with surprise as he wagged his tail and seemed to enjoy getting hosed down and shampooed.

"That's odd. He doesn't enjoy a bath at home," Moles said. "He didn't know he was coming for a bath. He thought he was just coming for an outing."

Todd and Tracey Bowman, 46 and 44, of Sharpsburg, and their children, Evan, 10, Ryan, 8, and Julia, 5, took advantage of the full range of opportunities at the event. Their 6-year-old mixed breed shelter dog, Molly, got a license, a rabies vaccine and a microchip, and their domestic shorthaired shelter cat, Champ, got a rabies vaccine and a microchip. The children gathered up some toys and operated a vendor booth in hopes of raising money to spay a stray cat, which they recently had found along with a litter of kittens.

"We told them if they were willing to part with some toys, they could take the money, spay the mom and keep two kittens," Tracey Bowman said.

Debbie Porterfield, manager of animal care and customer service, said near the end of the day that the Humane Society had provided about 200 rabies vaccines, 50 microchips and 25 dog licenses.

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