Animals rule at Paper Mill Island

Barb Rachetta 06/14/10More articles
Animals big and small were the stars at last Friday’s Blessing of the Pets event.

Coinciding with three days of festivities celebrating the Blessing of the Fleet weekend in Baldwinsville, participants and their beloved pets enjoyed numerous activities on Paper Mill Island.

Jim Pelcher, who ran the fishing derby the next day, registered owners and their pets for a pet parade and other contests held throughout the evening.

“This is our first year for the Blessings of the Pets,” Pelcher said. “It should be very interesting.”

There was plenty to see and do before the start of the blessing and parade. Mary Beth Lovejoy of Horse Cents Photography was on hand taking pet portraits and printing them on the spot for families to take home.

Intern Katie Barnett was also there representing the Beaver Lake Nature Center.

“We do a lot of school age group trails, where we teach kids about plants, wildlife and animals,” Barnett said.

The Humane Association of Central New York had a display near the hot dog and ice cream table. Liz Maunder, an employee of the Humane Association, said that their shelter was one of the area's largest no-kill shelters.

“We have over 100 pets now available for adoption,” Maunder said while petting Red, a 10-year-old Beagle mix who’s looking for a home. “Red’s a potato looking for his couch,” Maunder added with a smile.

Organizer Rev. Joseph McGarry gathered everyone around and blessed the animals before the start of the parade.

“The idea of Blessings of the Animals originated from St. Francis of Assisi. Usually St. Francis’ commemorative day is in October,” said Rev. McGarry.

The pets and their owners paraded around Paper Mill Island and were judged on largest pet, smallest pet, most unusual pet and most exotic pet, among others.
Tea Avalon’s 11-month-old, 80-pound Newfoundland dog named Buddy Holly won Biggest Dog.

“He is still a puppy. He will grow to about 180 pounds,” Avalon said.

When asked why she chose a Newfoundland, she replied, “I sent my two boys out for a lap dog, and they brought home Buddy.”

The judges for the parade were: Carrie Weaver from the Baldwinsville Village Board and Planning Committee; Mayor Joe Saraceni; Sarah Moses from the Post Standard; Rhonda Rapier, president of the Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce; and Diane Sleiertin from MaxMan Reptile Rescue.
Duncan, a White Throat Monitor Lizard, was resting on Sleiertin’s head as she spoke.

“The MaxMan Reptile Rescue is an actual rescue that specializes in reptiles. We get calls when these pets get too big for their owners to care for them. We also work with law enforcement when these animals are confiscated, because it‘s illegal to own indigenous wildlife in New York State, and are kept in our facility until they pass away,” Sleiertin said.

MaxMan has 45 animals in rescue to date. Sleiertin also stressed the importance of being a responsible pet owner.

“Learn about it and educate yourself,” she said, adding, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a goldfish or a lizard or whatever you have. Love and care for your pet like you would your family.”

Winner of Biggest Dog contest Buddy Holly and winner of Smallest Dog contest Daphne Dahlia, a 12-week-old chihuahua.

CATEGORY: General Society
EDITION: Baldwinsville Messenger

Rating: 2.3/5 (7 votes cast)

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