Dog Day Afternoon

Furry Fest is just like a county fair, but with better-groomed guests.

Cleveland theater
Any dog can sit and roll over. But at today’s pet-friendly Furry Friends Festival, a three-year-old Shar-pei named Tawny will maneuver through tunnels, weave around poles, and basically run rings around all the other bitches. The moves are part of owner Christy Paxton’s “Tricktility” program, which combines agility and performance training. “I wanted Tawny to understand ‘Jump over this, do a roll, go through the tunnel, and give me a high five,’” says Paxton. “The bond between the handler and the dog becomes so much greater.”

Today’s pooch fest includes a two-mile dog walk, a blessing of the animals, and a search for the city’s ugliest mutt. There’ll also be plenty of pets up for adoption. Plus, Tawny and Paxton, who runs the Hand in Paw dog-training clinic, will show off some of their most popular tricks. “People’s dogs go shopping with grocery carts and pick up produce,” says Paxton. “Some dogs will even get beer out of the refrigerator for you.” That’s our kinda dog!
Sat., Sept. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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