Local Pet Store Hosts Pet-Tober-Fest

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Local Pet Store Hosts Pet-Tober-Fest

A pet zoo worker holds Cactus Jack, a nine-month-old hedgehog.

A pet zoo worker holds Cactus Jack, a nine-month-old hedgehog. "He isn't as prickly as you think," the worker said.

Ishika Samant

A pet zoo worker holds Cactus Jack, a nine-month-old hedgehog. "He isn't as prickly as you think," the worker said.

Ishika Samant

Ishika Samant

A pet zoo worker holds Cactus Jack, a nine-month-old hedgehog. "He isn't as prickly as you think," the worker said.

By Ishika Samant, Westwood High School

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After a highly successful 10 year run, the event coordinators of Dogtoberfest decided to take a hiatus from organizing the event, thus paving the way for local Austin pet store Phydeaux and Friends to not only keep the tradition going but to expand it to include other pets. This expansion led to the branding of a new Austin event, henceforth known as Pet-Tober-Fest. The inaugural episode of this event was held on Oct. 20, 2018 at The Domain in Northwest Austin.

“We are a standalone event; we were very sad to see Dogtoberfest go away,” Taylor Polk said, the coordinator of Pet-Tober-Fest. “We wanted to create an event along the same line, and put our Phydeaux and Friends twist on it.”

This event was organized to advocate for local animal rescues to convey the importance of adopting pets instead of buying them from breeders or pet stores. A handful of local animal rescue centers were invited to the event. The Austin Animal Center, the largest no-kill animal shelter in the United States, was represented during the event, along with smaller local rescue centers such as the Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue.

“Our mission is to educate and inform the community about dog rescue,” Stan and Julie, the previous event coordinators, said. “We have no paid staff and operate only through the volunteers that donate their time and talent to save the lives of the many wonderful dogs that need loving and permanent homes.”

Pet-Tober-Fest had big five events during the day, each one held every hour between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. They started off with a Poodle Parade, where poodle owners around Austin showed off the breed to the audience. Immediately following was a Dog Halloween Costume Contest, wherein people dressed their dogs up and competed in a costume contest. Winners were showered with prizes which included a mix of ZippyPaws dog toys. At 1 p.m., the Austin Police department held a K9 demonstration. Later in the afternoon, events such as Flyball Demos and dog races were held.

“We have been participating in Dogtoberfest for the past seven years. It’s sort of become a tradition for us,” Sergeant Christopher Gwaldo, an Austin Police Officer, said. “We do many public demonstrations throughout the year; this event isn’t the only one. They are all good opportunities for us to meet the public, explain our love of animals, and demonstrate the dog’s unique ability to help law enforcement.”

There were many booths that gave out free food samples to pet owners. Other local pet companies like Taurus Academy and DogBoy’s dog ranch came to the event as well. Pet-Tober-Fest also featured a petting zoo, where children and adults could interact with rabbits, chickens, and other interesting animals.

“We started Tiny Tails to You in January 2010 as a way to create safe and fun one-to-one connections with animals,” a Tiny Tails representative said. “Today, Tiny Tails to You is one of the highest rated event companies in Texas.”

A few thousand people attended Pet-Tober-Fest in 2018. Events like these are considered a great way to bring Austin’s large pet community together. This Austin tradition, name not withstanding, has been taking place annually for 11 years and is slated to continue for future years. It is a true testament to the pride and love that Austin pet owners express towards their beloved four-legged family members.

This story was originally published on Westwood Horizon on October 21, 2018.