HomePlace dog show offers a wagging good time

Move aside Westminster, the WAIF Dog Show at HomePlace Memory Care is best in show when it comes to heart.

The show, hosted in HomePlace’s courtyard for the entire community, will open with dog and human refreshments at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 29 at 171 SW Sixth Ave. in Oak Harbor.

Jennifer Bachmann, activities director at HomePlace, said the event was inspired by the positive vibes residents feel from animals.

“There’s a very calming effect with the dogs any time people or family members bring in their dogs,” Bachmann said. “We have volunteers that bring in their dogs weekly so it’s nice to have that calming effect.”

In fact, it isn’t uncommon for Bachmann to drive her residents over to WAIF in the company bus so they can love on the shelter’s animals for a day.

While dogs can certainly soothe the worries of the residents they come in contact with, WAIF and HomePlace also want to event to be fun, said Karen Cowgill, director of marketing for HomePlace Memory Care.

To that end, a couple residents get to be part of the judging panel as the lovable fur-balls prance and pose for onlookers. There will be prizes for largest dog, smallest pooch, best diva, best dressed, dest behaved, “waggiest” tail, best trick, best bark, most glamorous and most adorable to name a few.

Now in its fifth year, HomePlace’s WAIF Dog Show draws most of its participants from the community, but the event also sees staff involvement, Cowgill said.

“We have lots of different dogs,” Cowgill said. “The public brings in their animals, and staff bring in their dogs, so we have a real cross section from tiny to huge, lumbering dogs.”

Each year, when residents wake up the day of the event and catch wind of the fun to be had, they have a hard time containing their excitement, Cowgill said.

“Our residents love animals,” Cowgill said. “It brightens their day, and animals accept people for what they are… dogs love people and people love animals, so it’s a win-win situation.”

WAIF also benefits from the event, as HomePlace will be accepting donations of pet supplies to benefit the organization. In addition, WAIF representatives will be in attendance to interface with guests and discuss need-to-know information regarding their new facilities and programs.

Cinnamon Hudgins, WAIF development and communications manager, said that WAIF is thrilled to partner with HomePlace for this event each year. Not only does the show drum up support and volunteers for both organizations, it also does a lot of good, she said.

In a past year of the event, a HomePlace resident attended the show with a gruff, guarded air about him, but when he saw a pet he recognized, his entire demeanor melted into one of pure joy, according to Hudgins.

“I think it’s a lot of fun, and people want to show off their animals,” Hudgins said. “It just really brings people together.”

To register a pet for HomePlace’s WAIF Dog Show, call Bachmann or Cowgill at 360-279-2555 up until the morning of show day.