The I Love My Dog Expo, which took place April 17-18 at the Lancaster Event Center, raised nearly $20,000 for Domesti-PUPS, according to Michelle O'Dea, executive director of the Lincoln-based nonprofit organization.
Domesti-PUPS provides therapy dogs and service dogs for persons with disabilities. O'Dea cited the pandemic as the reason for a lower attendance this year. The event was originally scheduled to take place in February but was postponed due to the pandemic.
“Attendance was 1,349, which is around half of the attendees we normally have,” she said. “We also had 40 vendors, and we normally have 65, so that was down too. But we did end up raising nearly $20,000, so that’s a positive!”
O’Dea added that she hopes to continue to have the event in April, “depending on whether we can work around Easter weekend from year to year.”
Activities included Frisbee catching by the Kansas City Disc Dogs, impulse control and service dog demonstrations by Domesti-PUPS, obedience, Rally, agility, flyball, nosework and trick training demonstrations by the Greater Lincoln Obedience Club, a best-dressed pet contest, games, adoptable dogs at rescue booths and shopping at pet supply vendor booths.
Dogs of all shapes and sizes attended the event with their humans. Melissa Loetscher’s pug Zoey traveled around the Expo in her electric car with a unicorn horn above the windshield, dressed in princess attire.
“She appointed herself Princess Unicorn Queen,” Loetscher said. “She’s a little bit spoiled.”
Several attendees had their dogs’ pictures taken at the Domesti-PUPS photo booth.
Domesti-PUPS provides pet therapy visitations, classroom and facility therapy dogs. In its service dog program, Domesti-PUPS provides trained dogs for seizure alert/response, diabetic alert and mobility challenges.
“We specialize in service dogs for children,” O’Dea added. “We also have an adoptables program where rescue dogs receive 14 weeks of obedience training before being placed in their ‘furever’ homes.”
Domesti-PUPS will host PUPS-A-Palooza, a fun day for people and their dogs, on Saturday, June 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Domesti-PUPS Training Center, 141 Harwood Court. The carnival-style event provides activities that people can do with their dogs such as lure coursing, K-9 musical chairs, learn a trick, obstacle course, dog breed bingo and others. Participants pay only for what activities they participate in.
For more information, visit www.domesti-pups.org.