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September 18, 2014
Koopa's Gals on Instagram

Dog Dish Pets meet and compete for a good cause at Bark in the Park

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Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2013 12:34 am | Updated: 1:37 am, Sun Jun 15, 2014.

The crispy fall air, the vibrant fall leaves, the department stores full of brand new fall boots — all signs point to one thing ...

It’s finally here, our favorite time of year — pet-friendly season in Calhoun County!

Animal Medical Center kicked things off last month with PetFest in Zinn Park. If you missed it (then your furbaby does not have you properly trained, but that’s a separate issue), the four-legged kiddos were out in mass, and Koopa made the memorable acquaintance of a lovely three-legged auburn pittie named Sasha.

Then on Oct. 3, we headed to Birmingham for the pet-friendly beer and bratwurst of Barktoberfest at Avondale Brewery where Koops took to Bristol like white on rice. The pretty blond retriever was all decked out in a sequin Bama cheerleader uniform, so can you really blame him?

Last Sunday was Bring Your Dog to Church Day, more commonly known as the annual Blessing of the Animals in honor of the patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi. There, among the graceful arches and lush gardens of Grace Episcopal, my apparently smooth operator made time with a well-behaved young chocolate lab by the name of Pilgrim.

For those keeping score at home, that’s three chicks in as many weeks — like he’s the dog world’s answer to the Fonz, or Vinnie Barbarino, or Uncle Jesse, or any other stock playboy circa Nick at Nite. I’d say it was time to have the talk with him, but unlike Fonzi, Koopa’s fixed.

Good thing too, because coming up on his social calendar is a big red circle around this Saturday.

Yep, pet-friendly season is still going strong and next up we’re headed to the McClellan Duck Pond for the fourth annual Bark in the Park.

And according to Kathleen Waelti of the Calhoun County Humane Society, one of the event sponsors, the event’s contest line-up alone should give Koops ample opportunity to strut his stuff and perhaps catch the eye of his next ladylove.

Drawing on lessons learned earlier this year at the Fourth of July canine competition in Jacksonville (congratulations again, Pistol Peden), we’ll likely be leaving the Doggie’s Got Talent category to those contestants that actually know, you know, tricks.

Not that we’re bitter, mind you. In fact, it will give Koopa more time to work out his hip flexors and be ready to dominate the musical hula hoop contest and the Twist competition.

Oh, yes. Then there’s the matter of Koopa’s bumblebee costume, which must be avenged after inexplicably failing to place in last year’s Bark in the Park costume contest — a scenario we do not intend to duplicate this year.

According to Waelti, the costume contest is the most anticipated item on the day’s itinerary.

“People start thinking about the costumes early,” she said. “It’s always funny to see the dogs all dressed up. It’s a lot of fun.”

Of course, the competition is always going to be steep when you’re talking about playing doggie dress-up, and Waelti has seen it all — from hippies to fairies to KISS frontman Gene Simmons. But Koops and I aren’t too worried about our chances. I hope I’m not scaring off any other contestants by saying this, but this year — we’re going DIY.

That’s right, no more ill-fitting, off-the-rack, uninspired alter egos for my pup — this dog mom bought a glue gun.

I don’t mean to intimidate anyone, but I’m pretty sure that’s the dog equivalent of turning on the jukebox with a fist bump.

If you and your furbaby can’t make it out to Bark in the Park, you can still see what all the pet-friendly fuss is about. Follow @DogDish_Star on Instagram to keep up with pet-friendly goings on in Calhoun County, not to mention Koopa’s growing trail of barking beauties, including a look at the fiery Sasha, the bubbly Bristol and the plucky Pilgrim.

A tail with a happy ending

Remember Wally, September’s Pet of the Month and the inaugural Dog Dish Don’t-You-Wish-I-Was-Your Pet of the Month?

Well, days after Wally’s story went to print, Semper Fi rescue received an application from a couple in Alexandria wanting to give the former shelter dog without a tail a forever home.

After an extraordinarily successful home visit with the couple, Semper Fi dog mom-in-chief Lisa Wippler had no qualms leaving Wally to get to know his future pet parents, big sister Abbey and even the family donkey!

Looks like Wally did just that. Wippler happily reports that the adoption was finalized last week and Wally has officially found his forever family.

Congratulations, Wally!

Want to see pictures of Wally meeting his forever family? You know where to look — that’s right, on Instagram @DogDish_Star.

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