East Portland ‘Paws’ event promotes pooch pleasure

Organizers say they put on these events to help promote the Oregon Humane Society. See why lovers of four-footed friends showed up by the score‚

Paula Ratoza doesn’t need to encourage Baebea, who runs the agility course with confidence

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Riverfront Park really “went to the dogs” on a couple of weeks ago, as packs of canines‚ accompanied by their human friends‚ came to the first  East Portland “Paws across Portland” event.

The “agility course” set up on the east end of the park first caught our eye. Off-leash, under voice command, dogs leap over hurdles, walk a teeter-totter, race through tunnels, and stand still‚ for a ten count‚ on a low table.

Makes dogs smile
“Originally, these courses were developed to aid dog confidence training,” explains Paula Ratoza, as her dog, Baebea, finishes running the course. “If they can do this [course], they can do about anything. Now, it’s done for fun. You can actually see dogs ‘smile’ when you are out there running it!”

Stacey Bailey of “Radio Disney AM 1640”, and David Lytle, spokesman for Oregon Humane Society.

“‘Radio Disney AM 1640’ put together this event,” enthuses station staffer Stacey Bailey. “We’re doing it to support the Oregon Humane Society. It’s a family day that includes dogs.”

Standing by their bright yellow trailer, Oregon Humane Society spokesman David Lytle tells us, “This is a great way for us to come out and meet the community. We have animals here for adoptions. One dog has already been adopted at the event today!”

Humane Society volunteer Benny Demmer shows off adoption candidate Rex.

Helps society place 10,000 animals
The society arranges adoptions for more than 10,000 animals a year, Lytle adds. “These animals would be homeless, otherwise. We also educate the public about animal care; and, our law enforcement officers work to stop animal abuse.”

We ask why a teen radio station set up this promotion. “First, we think a pet brings fun to families,” replies the station’s Bailey. “We’re trying to help kids and parents learn more about dog care, adopt pets, and donate to the Humane Society.”

Lytle says the society is grateful for the radio station’s promotion. “They put this all together; their singers and dancers, information booths, face painting, dog nutritional counseling‚ plus a great family entertainer, Joe Mishkin. We appreciate their support.”

You can see every animal currently up for adoption by going online to www.oregonhumane.org.

Learning the “Diablo” is Malawi Paranto with the help of Joe (definitely not your average Joe) Mishkin.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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