Erika King runs her 8-year-old dog Louie, who is half Australian cattle dog and half pitbull, through an agility course at Treadwell Arena on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Erika King runs her 8-year-old dog Louie, who is half Australian cattle dog and half pitbull, through an agility course at Treadwell Arena on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Pet party encourages adoption, along with responsible ownership

“Animal-loving” nonprofits come together in hopes of pets finding new homes.

Cats and dogs were reigning at Treadwell Arena on Saturday during a meet-and-greet where canines wagged their tails and felines purred in children’s arms, hoping to find a forever home.

People showed their support by donating 279 pounds of dog food and 108 pounds of cat food to a pet food drive hosted by the Grateful Dogs of Juneau, a nonprofit group that also provided Fourth of July and other tips for pet owners. Another organization, the Capital Kennel Club, provided an agility training course to showcase the importance of proper dog training.

The pet extravaganza was free for all attending, including the organizations who didn’t have to pay for rental of the space thanks to Keren GoldbergBelle, recreation administrator at Treadwell Arena. She said some of her motivation was helping Juneau Animal Rescue, which was offering four dogs and six cats for adoption at the event — with many more staying behind at the organization’s shelter.

“I knew that JAR was looking for a new facility,” she said. “So I wanted to kind of help provide some resources for them. And then I also adopted two cats from JAR. And so it was just sort of an excuse for me to get cats and dogs at the place I work.”

GoldbergBelle said holding the pet meet-and-greet at Treadwell Arena made sense to her since Savikko Park is a popular dog-walking location. She added Treadwell Arena is hoping to plan more summer events or rent out the arena to different organizations while it’s iceless.

The 387 pounds of pet food collected by Grateful Dogs will be distributed throughout Juneau and surrounding communities by the Southeast Alaska Food Bank. Grateful Dogs began accepting pet food donations in 2010 and the need has only risen since then. The animal-loving nonprofit has received five tons of pet food in the past two years.

The organization Grateful Dogs of Juneau accepted pet food donations at a Juneau Animal Rescue pet meet-and-greet at Treadwell Arena on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

The organization Grateful Dogs of Juneau accepted pet food donations at a Juneau Animal Rescue pet meet-and-greet at Treadwell Arena on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

“Grateful Dogs is part of the Juneau dog community,” George Utermohle, board president of Grateful Dogs, said. “We represent the interests of responsible dog owners in the community: trying to make sure that all the dog owners understand what their responsibilities are regarding their dog in regard to the public and can make sure that their dogs are well taken care of, well trained, they interact with people, they’re socialized.”

Grateful Dogs brought information encouraging Juneau dog owners to pick up after their pets and to plan for this week’s holiday events.

“We all wish we had dogs that weren’t bothered by fireworks,” Utermohle said. “But unfortunately, that’s not the case. So many dogs are stressed out by fireworks that it’s just good to be prepared. I mean, have a plan for what to do with your dog during the days fireworks are occurring. Have a safe place in the house, someplace where they can get away from the noise.”

Utermohle added it’s recommended to bring your dog to the vet well in advance of the holiday if they need medicine.

“The doctor’s not gonna give the medicine unless he’s seen your dog in advance,” he said. “It’s almost too late unless you have an established relationship with a vet in town to get some of the medicine.”

Like their animals at the meet-and-greet, Juneau Animal Rescue continues searching for a new home. Built 40 years ago, Juneau’s animal shelter doesn’t meet national standards for the “humane, safe, and nurturing housing of animals.”

The search for a new building comes following a JAR facility needs assessment completed with American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals funding. The assessment completed in September of 2021 by the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and Indigo Architects recommends a larger facility.

“We are working with the city on a location close to the food bank,” Rick Driscoll, executive director of JAR, said. “Just very preliminarily. We have to figure out whether it’s something that’s developable, that the ground can hold a building, because it’s pretty wet. We’re open to the Floyd Dryden building as an option. We did fill out an application to be a part of that process. The city has gone on record saying that converting Floyd Dryden into a City Hall would cost a lot more money to renovate. I think Juneau Animal Rescue kind of shares that sentiment. The cost of remodeling Floyd Dryden to be an animal shelter would probably be more than what it would cost to build a new building.”

That said, Driscoll said JAR is open to exploring the option.

Lilyian Lock and Eric Lock hold foster-to-adopt kitten Chromia at Juneau Animal Rescue’s pet meet-and-greet on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Lilyian Lock and Eric Lock hold foster-to-adopt kitten Chromia at Juneau Animal Rescue’s pet meet-and-greet on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

With 74 cats, JAR is currently at capacity. Driscoll said the shelter fostered approximately 30 cats in the last two weeks through its foster program.

Driscoll said five of the felines at the meet-and-greet came from a rescue of 60 cats, with some testing positive for an upper respiratory disease. JAR treated and vaccinated all 60 cats before the disease spread.

“They’re all pretty much healthy at this point,” he said. “Some of them are up for adoption and some of them are still kittens who have to be spayed or neutered before they’re eligible to be adopted. They can go out to a foster home until they’re ready to be spayed and neutered, and then they can be officially adopted.”

The current shelter only has one ventilation system, risking the spread of airborne illnesses to other animals, one of the reasons why the shelter is seeking a new location.

Driscoll said the meet-and-greet was planned before the influx of cats, which shelter officials kept to a small group of pets they know get along well. Adoption applications were accepted at the event.

Driscoll said he’ll consider doing more public visiting opportunities in the future. The shelter will also hold its annual whale-watching fundraiser “Whales for Tails” on Saturday, July 13.

George and P!nk, who came into Juneau Animal Rescue’s shelter as part of a 60-cat rescue, cuddle during a pet meet-and-greet on Saturday at Treadwell Arena. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

George and P!nk, who came into Juneau Animal Rescue’s shelter as part of a 60-cat rescue, cuddle during a pet meet-and-greet on Saturday at Treadwell Arena. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

On the other side of the rink, Kaya, a 13½-year-old Australian shepherd, put her nose to work.

Board treasurer for Capital Kennel Club, Marty Phelan, dipped a cotton ball in birch oil and hid it. Kaya alerted him that she had found it by placing her nose on the container and looking up at him. She got a “yes” from Phelan for positive reinforcement and treats as a reward.

Kaya’s motivator for tracking scents may be food, but Belgian sheepdog Dipper loves to play. When she locates her scent, she lays down to let her owner Colton Scrudder know, and then they play tug of war.

Dipper is a candidate for the Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search (SEADOGS). She just turned a year old and has been training since she was 10 weeks old. Scrudder said the goal is for her to be ready for search and rescue in another six months.

Everything she found on Saturday was new to her. Scrudder said before Saturday, Dipper was used to locating a clear scent jar with the birch oil inside, but at the meet-and-greet she took it up a notch with sealed containers, a notable achievement.

Dipper, currently training with dreams to become a search and rescue dog, plays tug of war as a reward on Saturday at Treadwell Arena. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Dipper, currently training with dreams to become a search and rescue dog, plays tug of war as a reward on Saturday at Treadwell Arena. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Smelling could be a dog’s superpower: their noses are at least 100,000 times more sensitive than a human’s.

Volunteers are needed to teach the dogs skills, Phelan said. Capital Kennel Club rents Lena Loop Park every Wednesday night in the summer for agility training. People are always welcome to watch the practice. Every Tuesday night is nose work at a rotating location.

Outside of agility and nose work, the club offers puppy kindergarten, a manners and obedience class, and other workshops. They also offer Canine Good Citizen certifications by helping teach a dog to navigate social interactions. Ten to 15 dogs from Capital Kennel Club will participate in a United Kennel Club nose work trial on July 26.

While watching the dogs jump through hoops and sniff scattered shoes, Phelan commented that in addition to being man’s best friend, dogs aren’t only cute, but smart, too.

• Contact Jasz Garrett at jasz.garrett@juneauempire.com or (907) 723-9356.

Ashlynn King, Juneau Animal Rescue clinic assistant, gets kisses from Aurora, a 12-week-old husky mix from Kake during a pet meet-and-greet Saturday at Treadwell Arena. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Ashlynn King, Juneau Animal Rescue clinic assistant, gets kisses from Aurora, a 12-week-old husky mix from Kake during a pet meet-and-greet Saturday at Treadwell Arena. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Aurora, a 12-week-old husky mix from Kake, wears an “Adopt Me” bandana. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Aurora, a 12-week-old husky mix from Kake, wears an “Adopt Me” bandana. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Kaya practices nose work at Treadwell Arena on Saturday. The scent container being above her line of smell presents an extra challenge. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Kaya practices nose work at Treadwell Arena on Saturday. The scent container being above her line of smell presents an extra challenge. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Brianna Caldwell, Juneau Animal Rescue kennel technician, gives 3-year-old labrador retriever mix Vibe belly rubs at a pet meet-and-greet Saturday at Treadwell Arena. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Brianna Caldwell, Juneau Animal Rescue kennel technician, gives 3-year-old labrador retriever mix Vibe belly rubs at a pet meet-and-greet Saturday at Treadwell Arena. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

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