Animal Lovers Flock to Chicago Pet Show at Darien Sportsplex
The event showcased pet services and animal friends looking for a good home.
Theresa Pechous accompanied boyfriend Marc Hamilton Saturday to the pet show with a specific mission.
“Our border collie passed away and so we came here looking for a dog,” said Hamilton.
Not halfway into the more than 60 vendor booths, Hamilton discovered Rorrie, a rescued shepherd mix whose age was estimated to be between eight and 12 months old.
The couple, along with Hamilton’s mother, lingered for some time over the pooch that had a head resembling a fox and a beguilingly playful disposition.
Rorrie was rescued from an animal shelter in Quincy, MI — underweight by about 12 pounds, she was scheduled to be euthanized, said Marianne Yurko, from A Caring Place in Westmont.
“The shelters there just don’t have the resources,” Yurko explained. “There is one shelter for multiple counties, and it only has 20 runs (one dog is allowed per run). By law, the shelters keep the dogs for 10 days in case an owner claims them, but after that…” Her voice trailed as she shook her head.
Pets Connect! Inc. has successfully placed more than 4,000 pets over the past 11 years, but representative Laurie Beam said some cruelty cases still make her cry.
Beam talked about nine-month-old German Sheperd Inka and her anger that previous owners had allowed the dog to dwindle to almost 30 pounds below a healthy weight.
“Every day those owners ate their meals and didn’t feed Inka,” said Beam, explaining that Inka's restricted diet had occurred over a long period of time. “Why they didn’t just take her to a shelter, I don’t know.”
Animal neglect is a sobering thought, and while many rescues at the event had similar stories, the general mood was one of hope as they brought some of their biggest stars looking for good families.
More than 40 dogs were adopted during the first four hours of the event, said event organizer Peggy Ruh.
Ruh also wanted to teach the importance of a variety of animals and so she arranged for a petting zoo with goats, chickens, ducks and miniature ponies as well as presenters showcasing crocodiles, boa constrictors and lizards.
Some families came with the intent of purchasing products or learning about services for pets rather than adopting.
Maha Abbate and her children Firas and Sabrina own three cats and a dog.
“We’re pet lovers. We wanted to check out the products,” Abbate said. “There are great organic products here with nothing artificial in them.”
Earthborn Holistic products specialist Kevin Maduscha explained that ingredients for their dog and cat foods are purchased from local farmers and made fresh with expiration dates visible on the front of the packages.
The Canine Butcher Shop line of natural products is distributed by DD Industries and 25 percent of sales are given back to animal charities.
And there are even alternatives for dogs with special dietary needs.
Greeting visitors outside the Darien Sportsplex was a bright yellow canine catering truck manned by Tracy Werner and Donna Santucci of Fido to go! displaying gluten-free “Gormutt” doggie treats in an enticing ice-cream truck style.
“The majority of dogs are okay eating grains and glutens,” Werner said, “but this gives a healthy option.”
Ruh said that higher grade food results in less animal waste products and while it might be more expensive to buy it saves money in the long run as the pets have fewer health issues.
The next pet show takes place October 29 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles.
More information can be found at www.chicagopetshow.com.