Animals, owners celebrated at pet expo
by Anne Marie Fuller
Aug 09, 2013 | 1813 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pet expo
Larry Hite and his dog, Abby, put on an accelerant-detection demonstration during the second Pet Lover's Expo and Health & Safety Fair on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the West Valley Mall. Abby signals that she has found the ball tainted with an arson accelerant by scratching at the cone that covers it.  Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
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Service and rescue animals were in the spotlight at the second Pet Lover’s Expo and Health & Safety Fair on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the West Valley Mall.

A plethora of animal-oriented booths formed the backdrop as hundreds of people attended the event. Safety demonstrations engaged the audience, and a surprise flash mob provided entertainment.

Larry Hite, founder of Noah’s Ark Foundation of Tracy, and his dog, Abby, provided one of the demonstrations. Abby showed her skill at sniffing out a ball laced with an arson accelerant, a chemical that could be used to start a fire.

“This is our first time taking part in this event,” Hite said. “The demos put on today are a great way to show how animals can help people.”

More than 15 groups were represented during the six-hour event next to Shedskin Reptiles in the mall, including Guide Dogs for the Blind Bright Eyes Club.

“It’s amazing what dogs can do,” said Linda Rubino, a trainer with the club. “A lot of people are not aware of the many services that are offered to the public. This is a wonderful way to showcase community service dogs and all they do for us.”

Elizabeth Johnson enjoyed interacting with the pets.

“My favorite part today was petting all the dogs and cats here, and the face painting,” said the 11-year-old.

The animal that stole the show, however, was a 20-year-old, 50-pound tortoise, owned by Jeff Porto of Shedskin, that walked through the event.

Along with the pet-themed festivities, multiple raffle prizes were given away, including a set of four tickets to Sunday’s Oakland A’s-Texas Rangers game. The tickets, courtesy of Winn Volkswagen in Newark, were won by local teenager Liz Ortiz. The final score was Texas Rangers 4-0.

“I’m so happy,” Ortiz said. “It was great seeing all the people here today with the different groups. I can’t wait till next year.”

Groups taking part included Animal Rescue of Tracy, Paws4Friends Therapy Dogs, ACS Bark for Life, Smart Dawg University, Dogs on Deployment, Old River VCA Animal Hospital, Creative Art FX, MT’s Welcome Waggin’, Kessa’s Creations, K-9 Development, New Life Water, Chloe Cole Pet Couture, USA Trophies and Starlight Studios.

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