Dogs of all shapes and sizes converged at the Carl Levin Park Saturday for the fourth annual Puppy Palooza Festival, put on by the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Department.
Even though the pups had their run of the place, the pool was the place to be Saturday morning for humans and their four-legged family members alike.
“Working today is definitely more fun than a regular day,” said Danielle Nelson, lifeguard for the city of Harker Heights. “It’s definitely been a different experience watching both dogs and people in the pool.”
“Being able to swim with your dogs in the pool is a big incentive for us to keep coming back,” said Linda McNabb, who has been coming to the event since its inception. Her dogs Buddy, 5, and Bradshaw, 2, both Saint Bernards were a big hit with children.
“We call Buddy our Walmart greeter because whenever we go to a dog park, he will go over to greet the humans before entertaining the dogs,” she said.
The festival booths offered food, dog training, medical information, swimming, an agility course and several adoption and rescue agencies.
“This is a great opportunity for people in this area to come out and meet other dog lovers, to socialize their dogs and to visit some of the vendors and maybe even contribute to some of the nonprofits and adopt a pet,” said Nichole Broemer, the city’s recreation and events coordinator.
Several dogs found their forever homes before the event wound down.
Highlights of the festival included a dog fashion show and several contests: Best Trick, Smallest and Largest Dog and Best Dog-owner look alike.
“I love Puppy Palooza because I love dogs,” said Andrew Villella, 5, who was quick to show off his new puppy, Ace, a 10-week-old Chihuahua mix who cam dressed as a prisoner. “I feed him and walk him and love on him. Dogs are the best.”