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Dogs, Cats, Bearded Dragons Rule at Marin Weekend Pet Fair

October 06, 2013

Marin Independent Journal

With a bounding leap, Bailey flew 12 feet into the splash tank at the Marin Center to retrieve a toy, sending water flying as the second day of the Bay Area Pet Fair and Adoptathon began Sunday.

The black Labrador mix dutifully returned the toy to Charles Burton of Sacramento, to accolades of, "Good boy!" While Bailey enjoys a happy home with Burton, there were hundreds of dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and reptiles awaiting adoption at the free two-day event sponsored by Pet Food Express.

Holmes the bearded dragon was one of the lucky ones. "It was either a snake or a dragon," said Randy Bryden of Modesto, exhibiting the somewhat tense-looking but photogenic multicolored two-foot-long lizard he had just adopted.

"We're on track to reach our goal of 600 adoptions," said Mike Murray, director of community outreach for Pet Food Express, around midday Sunday. Murray said 253 animals found homes Saturday, and more were adopted Sunday, though a final count was not available at press time.

While adoption was a major theme, there was a lot more going on at the event, which drew an estimated 6,000 people each day, according to Murray. The splash tank drew dogs and their guardians from Reno, Sacramento and all over the Bay Area as folks competed to see how far their dogs could leap into the water to retrieve objects.

Tents housing pet food vendors, veterinarians and all manner of pet-related items saw a steady stream of visitors.

"We came for the treats," smiled James Calibjo and his partner John Roos, both of Santa Venetia, who showed up with a personage no less than Grand Champion Gemstone Monarch over Boston, their beloved, AKC-registered soft-coated terrier.

Metz, a police dog with the Novato Police Department, showed off his skills in a series of demonstrations conducted by his handler, Officer Jeff Ames. Scrutinizing a series of orange cones, Metz sniffed out the cones containing cotton balls smelling of cocaine and amphetamine.

"These are actual practical scenarios these dogs do on a daily basis," said Ames, who also led Metz through procedures such as removing a reluctant suspect from a car. "It's good practice for the dog."

"I'm here because I love animals," said Kaylyne Lopez, 15, who was at the event with her parents, Martin and Sara Lopez, her brother David, 11, and sister Ashleigh, 11, all of Novato.

"We just had to put our pug Charlie to sleep, so we're looking" to adopt, Sara Lopez said. "I just have to convince my husband."

Just around the corner, Zeus the German shepherd hit the jackpot.

"He's incredibly loving. We walked up to him and he rubbed his head against our hands," said Sheri Langer, who with her husband Jerry Langer added Zeus to their household Sunday.

After meeting Zeus Saturday, the two returned with Sydney, their collie-chow mix, to see how the two would get along. After taking a walk with the two dogs, the deal was sealed.

"Now the only thing remaining is to give Zeus a better name," Langer said.

By Janis Mara

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