BRISTOL — Hand in paw, Bilko the goldendoodle and his owner, Joan Parkes, swayed to the beat of ’60s hits.
Parkes and Bilko, a 10-month-old puppy already as tall as his owner, earned a medal for their moves Saturday, Aug. 16, from the Humane Society of Elkhart County.
The shelter hosts owners and their furry friends every year at Pet Fest, a celebration of man’s best friend.
Vendors such as Martin’s Paw Mart and Planet Canine come to sell pet supplies and talk to owners about dog care. Volunteers set up a “dances with dogs” competition — which Parkes and Bilko won — a splash pool for dogs and a hot dog bobbing contest.
Small dogs were confused by the hot dog bobbing contest and tried to drink the water. Big dogs like Banner, a border collie, snapped up 10 hot dog slices in their 20-second time limit.
Banner was adopted from a shelter, said owner Dana Beaver. Her family spent a lot of time finding a dog that would do well with kids.
“He’s the sweetest, most calming family dog,” she said. “He doesn’t have a herding instinct, really. Just an eating instinct.”
Humane Society director Anne Reel said a lot of people will look for a new pet at the shelter during Pet Fest. And many owners return to celebrate adopting their dogs.
“We have a lot of alumni dogs out here,” she said.
Brother and sister German Shepherd mixes Keeda and Kadee were both adopted from the Humane Society of Elkhart County, owner Peggy Wilds said. They were found in a dumpster when they were puppies and taken to the shelter.
Wilds adopted the dogs a couple years ago, when they were just 6 months old. At Pet Fest, Kadee and Keeda panted happily in a wading pool while Wilds petted them.
Reel brought her dog Jackie, also a former shelter pet. Reel calls her the Humane Society spokesdog.
Pet Fest is meant to be fun, Reel said, but it’s also a chance to remind people there are plenty of pets like Keeda, Kadee and Banner yet to be adopted.
“It’s a way to kind of honor those animals that still need homes,” she said. “And celebrate those that found their forever homes.”