Johnstown Independent

Dozens of rescue groups will be at event

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In addition to promoting responsible pet ownership, the 2013 All-American Pet Expo will showcase 40 to 50 different animal-rescue shelters.

Organizers said over the years, the pet expo has led to thousands of adoptions, and this year, they aim to add to that number.

"Our goal this year is to generate 500 adoptions from the event," show founder and promotions director Steve Cantin said.

While expo attendees shouldn't expect to take any new dogs or cats home from the show, Cantin said people will have a chance to meet with different rescue groups, ask questions and fill out applications to adopt.

Cozy Cat Cottage, located in Powell, has been attending the expo for about 14 years, according to Cindi Clum, executive director of the business.

"I think it's an awesome event," she said. "It's great to get out of your own little world sometimes. ... It's a great way to meet thousands of people instead of hundreds."

Clum said the Cozy Cat Cottage will bring around 15 cats and kittens. She said they're hoping to arrange the adoptions of at least 20 to 25.

"There should be no reason why we shouldn't reach that goal," she said.

The Cozy Cat Cottage will have three booths and items to sell, Clum said, and will have three to four volunteers to handle the cats.

"We got this down pretty much to an art," she said. "It's a relaxing atmosphere for us."

Clum said the expo is also a chance to share ideas and discuss the issues rescue shelters face, a sentiment shared by Shirley Lappert of the Canine Collective in Delaware. Lappert said there's a camaraderie among the shelters.

"We love seeing each other," she said. "We can help each other."

The Canine Collective, which has been attending the expo for about 11 years, will cycle in several dogs throughout the weekend.

"It's a great way to get your animals seen," Lappert said. "People come to us. They ask us questions."

The number of adoptions at the expo varies from year to year, but Lappert said it's usually between five and 10.

Dogs from the Canine Collective also take part in the expo's fashion show and runway walks.

"It's another way of getting the dog noticed," Lappert said. "Some of the dogs love the expo. They love the attention."

Animals aren't the only ones who love the attention.

Wes Gibson, owner of the London-based Custom Quality Pet Furniture, has been an exhibitor for five years.

"The attendance is great," he said. "We have been very successful at that show every year we've been there."

Gibson said his company will bring between 100 and 125 units of furniture, including pet steps, feeders, cat trees and more.

"I will probably come home with less than 10 (units) by the time the show's over," he said.

The Pet Expo will be held April 19-21 at the Ohio Expo Center.

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