By Danielle Church

Killeen Daily Herald

"I'm very happy because the dogs are going to have their day today," Edith Rodriguez, owner of Three Bandits Dog's Barkery, said Saturday during Harker Heights' second annual Puppypalooza.

The city's Parks and Recreation and police departments, along with the Bell County Kennel Club, hosted the dog-friendly event at Carl Levin Park where dozens of pet owners and their furry friends were invited to get together for canine activities.

Rodriguez stood behind her vendor table Saturday morning eager to sell homemade all natural dog treats to interested customers. The treats she makes, from her Killeen residence, have no sugar, no salt and no preservatives.

"I'm the picky one," she said about her own eating habits. "I want to know what is in there."

Healthy treats weren't the only thing for the canines to look forward to throughout the morning, as a best trick competition and an HHPD K-9 Unit demonstration took place on the park's pavilion.

Harker Heights resident, Joyce Davidson, attended the event with her German Shepherds, 5-year-old Loki and 3-year-old Valkyrie. Davidson said she saw Puppypalooza advertised in a school news brief one day and decided to check it out.

"I'm having a good time," she said. "It's a great way for the dogs to socialize," she added, noting how well-behaved the canines were.

During a pet and owner look-a-like contest, winner Layke Steinfort, 8, strutted his stuff down the "dog-walk" in a pirate costume with his dog Morris.

His mother, Alegra, sat in the audience cheering them on while taking photos.

"It's really awesome," she said of the dog-friendly event. "Morris did a trick for the first time (and went through a hoop)."

Recreation and Events Coordinator, Nichole Broemer, said this year's event brought in an even larger attendance than the first puppy fest.

"We had 600 animals that attended throughout the day at the pool itself; so I'm thinking we had 700 to 800 people and dogs (in total attendance)," Broemer said.

"It went great," she added.

Contact Danielle Church at or (254) 501-7567.

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