Dog day at Dan Nicholas

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2011

By Robin M. Perry
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — A downpour dampened the field at Dan Nicholas Park Saturday, but not the spirits of all the pet-owners and their furry pals at Responsible Dog Ownership Day, which was sponsored by the Salisbury American Kennel Club and Friends in Fur.
The purpose was to educate owners how to be a good pal to your pooch and to provide tips on dog ownership including safety, care and grooming.
This was the second year for the event, said Samantha Smith, dog lover, owner, volunteer and an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator. She invited vendors, including rescue organizations, retailers, a search and rescue team, and K-9 Capers from Cabarrus County to do an agility demonstration. This is a 4-H group that works with rescue, training and handling show dogs for juniors.
There was even a new food vendor — selling hot dogs, of course — Toby’s Dog House Grill.
Christlynn Duff brought her dog, Virgil, to be certified as an AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) and Smith put the dog through its paces. They had to demonstrate 10 skill tests for well-mannered dogs, such as coming when called and reacting to other dogs and distractions. Smith has been an evaluator for two years, and the AKC asks all clubs to host responsible dog ownership days.
The Central Piedmont Search and Rescue team also attended. They are volunteers, who work with Cabarrus Rescue and their own rescue dogs such as blood hounds, huskies, Australian shepherds, and Belgian malinois.
Rusty Starnes explained they are called in to help search for lost people. The dogs are trained and receive certification by the North Carolina Police Dog Association.
Rescue organizations brought their favorite breeds with hopes of finding them good homes, and increasing awareness of the plight of these creatures when nobody wants them.
“Poodles curl up in your heart!” is the slogan for Carolina Poodle Rescue at Dreamweaver Farms in Spartanburg, S.C. Sue Wortman is the adoption counselor, and she gets information on families wanting to adopt to match them with the right dog.
“We rehab and re-home poodles,” she said.
“Big paws, Big hearts” describes the Carolina Mastiff Rescue effort, dedicated to finding good homes for Mastiffs and mixed breeds.
Jami Benton said owners often give up mastiffs when they get too big. She brought along two grown mastiffs and a puppy in need of homes.
Charlie, a basset hound, wore a vest with “adopt me” on it. Candace Honeycutt, North Carolina Medical Coordinator for Carolina Basset Hound Rescue, said the group has 60 dogs in foster care in North Carolina and South Carolina, adding the group saves two to three per week from kill shelters.
“We need to get more Rowan County people involved in this,” she said. “We need more foster and adoptive homes.”
The group works hard to get the right dog with the right family, and even have a seven day trial period for the dog and potential owner. Their slogan is “Rescue-Rehabilitate-Rehome.”
Traveling from Rougemont with 15 dogs for adoption were Dawn McCartney of Second Chance pit bull rescue and Jennifer Whaley of Shared Hearts Animal Rescue and Education.
“We appreciate the invitation to be here so folks can see the dogs and the need,” said Whaley, whose group had one of its dogs adopted.
The Salisbury Kennel Club also offered a microchip clinic for $25 and the East Rowan High School FFA club members were there to volunteer.
Foster “mom” Cassie Hyman of Salisbury brought three dogs ready for new homes — a Great Dane named Cammie; Champ, a collie mix; and Maggie, a wiener dog.
“They really need great homes,” Hyman said.
Robin M. Perry is a freelance writer for the Salisbury Post and can be reached through