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All tails wagging for 'Barktoberfest'

Two-day event raises funds for Placer SPCA
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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A free festival next weekend boasts an agility course, look-a-like competition and a bobbing-for-tennis-balls game. But this festival isn’t designed for you — it’s for your dog. Although, a canine’s well behaved companion is also cordially invited to attend the Placer SPCA’s inaugural Barktoberfest. The two-day event takes place at the Renesas Electronics America campus in Roseville and raises much-needed funds for the nonprofit organization, which has seen an increase in abandoned animals in recent years. “It provides the opportunity for people to bond with their dogs and for them to see their dogs in action,” said Susan Willson, Placer SPCA’s Director of Development. The Saturday evening festivities feature Barks, Brats and Bids, an elegant food and beverage tasting and an auction. Dogs are welcome. The following morning begins with the official crowning of the canine king and queen, who will reign throughout the year. Doggies and their owners can next participate in a one-mile parade and explore the offerings of more than 40 vendors, who sell pet fashion, pet food, home décor, crafts and more. There will be a bark competition and the Sacramento Fly Ball Team will demonstrate the animal friendly sport of fly ball. A pet psychic will be on hand to tell owners about the history of their dogs and give insight into dogs’ thoughts. “They’re quite popular,” Willson said. Barktoberbest replaces the Placer SPCA’s annual BBQ and Blues event, which the shelter hosted for the last 20 years. Organizers hope the new format will encourage owners to participate alongside their pets in activities. “We want an event that shows the importance of the human and animal bond and (Barktoberfest) represents who we are and reflects our mission much better,” said Placer SPCA chief-executive officer Leilani Vierra. BBQ and Blues typically generated between $60,000 and $100,000 a year for the organization, Vierra said. The majority of the Placer SPCA’s $1.6 million annual budget comes from donations and fundraisers. The rest comes from grants, bequests and fees for service — the organization doesn’t receive any state or federal government funding. The money pays for the shelter’s services, such as providing care and housing to between 40 and 60 dogs, and between 200 and 500 cats at any given time. The number of cats fluctuates during kitten season. Funds raised through Barktoberfest will also pay for programs, such as the Placer SPCA’s low-cost micro-chipping and rabies vaccinations clinics, and the spay and neuter assistance program. Vierra said preventative measures, such as this program, are critical as the shelter continues to receive more and more animals left by people who have lost their jobs, homes and ability to care for their pets in the current economic crisis. The shelter started the SOS Program to assist responsible animal caregivers in times of need. Under this program, the Placer SPCA provides gifts or small loans to families in transition, including temporary boarding costs for pets, pet deposits for rentals and veterinary treatment costs for animals with life-threatening conditions. “We’re looking at creative ways to keep animals out of shelters,” Vierra said. Last year, Placer SPCA funded 50 families to keep pets and families together. Canines and their companions will have the chance to be together at Barktoberfest. And Vierra said dozens of local businesses and groups have joined with the Placer SPCA to ensure this first-ime event succeeds. “It’s become an integrated, community-shared event,” she said. “Placer SPCA is an essential part of the community and the community is an essential part of us.” Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- What: Barktoberfest, a festival for canines and their human companions Who: Placer SPCA When: Dinner 6–9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 and festival 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3 Where: Renesas Electronics America, Inc. campus, 7501 Foothills Blvd. in Roseville Cost: $30 for Saturday’s event, free Sunday Info: Purchase tickets online at www.placerspca.org. For vendor or sponsorship information, call (916) 782-7722 ext. 102 or (530) 885-7387, ext. 102. ---------- Event schedule 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2: Barks, Brats and Bids, an elegant food and beverage tasting event featuring a live and silent auction. Dogs welcome. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3: Family Festival beginning with a Doggie Parade at 9 a.m. and featuring activities for dogs and kids, vendors, food, music and more.