The dog days of summer are drawing to a close, but one special dog day remains.

WAG! Fest will be unleashed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Darby Bend Lakes area of Prairie Oaks Metro Park, 2755 Amity Road in Brown Township, just west of Hilliard. Admission is free.

Although the 12th annual event will provide thousands of people and their canine companions multiple opportunities for recreational activities, it also is designed to forge new friendships with man’s best friends.

WAG! Fest will feature a Meet the Breed exhibition to help potential new owners determine their best fit for a breed of surrendered or abandoned dog to adopt.

PetPeople, a pet-supply chain, organizes the showcase in which more than a dozen breed-specific organizations will present canines up for adoption.

Organizations for such pure breeds as corgis, English bulldogs, greyhounds and shih tzus are expected to participate, said Terri Montigny, community-relations manager for PetPeople.

Meet the Breed is offered “to bring awareness to the community that you can find whatever kind of dog you want at a rescue group or a shelter,” Montigny said. “Your dog is out there looking for its forever home.”

However, it likely is not possible for patrons to adopt a dog on-site at the event and take it home from there, she said.

The dogs available for adoption at Meet the Breed are from urban and rural, public and private shelters and humane societies, as well as the breed-specific organizations that place animals.

“Some were surrendered by their owners; others have been abandoned and are from shelters,” Montigny said. “Each group has its own application and placement processes.”

She said only Columbus Humane might have the staff members available to process an adoption at the event.

But almost all the organizations have websites where prospective dog adopters could apply online and begin the process, Montigny said.

“I suggest people bring their own dogs and their family members to the meet-and-greet,” she said.

In most instances, dog-placement organizations want to meet all family members and other pets, and they typically visit a home before finalizing an adoption, Montigny said.

Adoption fees vary widely based on breeds, age, medical considerations and other factors, anywhere from virtually free to as much as $500, she said.

One of the organizations expected to participate in Meet the Breed is the Ohio Fuzzy Pawz Shih Tzu Rescue adoption organization, which also places dogs of similar size and constitution.

Katie Rowswell of Clintonville adopted her first dog five years ago from Ohio Fuzzy Pawz.

Today, she and her husband, David, have two surviving dogs from Ohio Fuzzy Pawz, and they also open their Clintonville residence to foster dogs who eventually will be adopted by other families.

For the first time, Rowswell will represent Ohio Fuzzy Pawz at WAG! Fest.

“A lot of people ask me how I can be a foster and then have to give up the dog, (but) being a foster has taught me about what makes a dog a good fit for someone,” she said. “When they go on to a perfect home, it’s such a great feeling.”

Making such matches is among the primary purpose and goals of Meet the Breed.

“Sometimes a person wants one type of dog, (but then) we help them discover how another kind of dog might be better,” Rowswell said.

Factors include where people live, their personalities, their work schedules and environments inside their homes, she said.

“I was shocked, too, to learn how many dogs are surrendered or abandoned,” Rowswell said.

In addition to Meet the Breed, the WAG! Marketplace will include exhibits of products, services and samples from pet retailers, dog day care centers, pet photographers, groomers and trainers, veterinarians and clubs and organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of canines.

Dogs also may take a dip at the Water Bark Beach or cool off at the WAG! Ice Castle, a frozen oasis of 2,500 pounds of ice, and trained canines will perform in agility drills and dock-diving exhibitions.

According to Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, 18,561 people and 12,230 dogs attended last year’s WAG! Fest.

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