Dublin Villager

DogFest

Event caters to canines, humans in costume

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Pirates, princesses and superheroes, both of the human and canine variety, will be among the guests at DogFest.

The annual Canine Companions DogFest, slated for 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at Coffman Park Pavilion, 5200 Emerald Parkway, Dublin, serves as a major fundraiser for the group Canine Companions for Independence.

"It's our big fundraiser of the year," said Ashley Koehler, development associate for the nonprofit organization. "We encourage (walkers) to collect pledges."

The national nonprofit provides trained assistance dogs for children, adults and veterans with physical disabilities.

Dogs are provided free of charge and can perform tasks such as opening doors, turning on lights and picking up dropped items to increase a person's self-sufficiency.

The north central regional center for the group is based in Delaware.

"(Money raised) will go straight toward our mission of providing assistance dogs," Koehler said.

The Oct. 13 fundraiser will include a two-mile walk with trick-or-treat stops, games, a costume contest and other activities.

"Registration starts at 9 a.m. and the walk is at 10 a.m.," Koehler said. "Between 9 and 10 (a.m.) we'll have registration, raffle items to buy tickets for and music before the walk."

Items up for the raffle include restaurant gift certificates, golf items, Snoopy items, a 42-inch flat-screen television and passes to attractions such as the Columbus Museum of Art, The Wilds and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

A Snoopy mascot will be joining this year's walk for the first time, Koehler said. Snoopy creator Charles Schulz was a major supporter of Canine Companions and his widow, Jean Schulz, is a national board member. The cartoon canine is used at many Canine Companions events.

After the two-mile walk, both humans and canines will get to show off their costumes.

"This is all sort of Halloween-themed. There are costume contests. When you get back from the walk, we have the contest with best costume overall, best human and best dog," Koehler said.

A wide variety of costumes have been entered in the past, she said.

"We've had all sort of different costumes," Koehler said. "Last year, a big one was pirates. I think a winner was a princess. Superheroes are always a big one."

Food from Panera, White Castle and the Sunny 95 treat truck will be available, in addition to a demonstration featuring the Dublin Police Canine unit.

About 200 are expected for DogFest, Koehler said.

"We have a lot of supporters that are graduates and volunteer puppy-raisers," she said. "There are a lot of people outside of the Dublin area. We are in Delaware and we have a few people that travel a little bit further."

Registration for Canine Companions DogFest can be completed online at cci.org/dublin dogfest. Registration can also be completed at the event.

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