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Scrub-a-Mutt returns to Marysville | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — Every dog at the Strawberry Fields Athletic Park had its day, for the fifth year in a row, as the annual Scrub-a-Mutt fundraiser returned to the site with familiar favorites and new frills on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Arlington’s Stacie Ventura and her 3-year-old Belgian sheepdog Felan were among the dogs and their owners who got a workout on the agility course that had been set up on the soccer fields.

“He’s a young dog, so it can be hard to keep him focused,” Ventura said of Felan, with whom she’s been competing in such courses for two years. “It’s been rewarding to see him mature and improve, though. He’s gotten more consistent in his runs, and working together as a team gives us bonding experiences.”

Judy Marquardt supervised more than 20 dogs and their owners as they made their way through the hurdles, hoops and other obstacles of the agility course set up by her husband Michael.

“In the baskets they’ve handed out to dog owners are lists of dog agility instructors in the Puget Sound region,” said Marquardt, who met Scrub-a-Mutt co-founder Elizabeth Woche at a pet food store. “The purpose of this course is to show people that regular dogs can do this stuff. It builds confidence for not only the dogs, but their human handlers as well.”

Just a short distance away on the same field, volunteers from throughout Snohomish County were making sure Scrub-a-Mutt lived up to its name, by washing and drying dogs who were also eligible to receive nail trims from professionals.

Lance Curry, another friend of Elizabeth and Bill Woche, hadn’t washed a dog in 20 years before that Saturday, but his nervousness soon faded as he found most recipients of his grooming skills were well-behaved and appreciative.

“There’s as much hair in this tub as there is in my own,” Curry joked, as he rinsed out one of the elevated plastic wash basins. “I’m not normally confident around dogs, so I worried whether I was going to get bit, but they all liked being scrubbed.”

“Some of them have been a bit aggressive, but we’ve gotten them to calm down,” Bill Woche said.

Kim Daily of the Lake Stevens K9 Academy and Eric Pramhus of PAWS were also Scrub-a-Mutt first-timers, but they had help in hosing down the dogs from Dr. Doug Yearout of the All Animal and Bird Clinic in Lake Stevens, for whom such tasks are old hat.

“Don’t get water in their ears or soap in their eyes, don’t spray too hard on their privates, and offer them lots of reassurance,” Yearout advised would-be dog-washers. “There’s a lot of other dogs out here and strange hands touching them, so especially since some of them hate the water anyway, it can get stressful.”

“Safety is our first priority,” agreed Dr. Renee Gray of the Lake Stevens Animal Hospital, as she and her volunteers clipped the nails of a number of occasionally skittish dogs. “It’s a totally spastic situation here, with all sorts of smells and sights that aren’t normal for these dogs. We read their body language to see how much anxiety they’ll have in their reactions. Compared to that, getting the perfect pedicure is not as important,” she laughed.

Pramhus praised Scrub-a-Mutt for supporting Old Dog Haven, a nonprofit dog rescue group in Arlington that aims to provide loving and safe homes for abandoned senior dogs.

“A lot of people don’t realize that dogs are a forever commitment,” Pramhus said. “In my volunteer work at PAWS, I see that the old dogs stay with us longer because they’re not as adoptable.”

Marysville dog owners such as Barbara Arocha and Peggy Langan likewise had nothing but kind words for Scrub-a-Mutt.

“I’m surprised by how well-attended this is,” said Langan, who brought her 5-year-old rescue dog Bitsy for the first time this year.

“It’s a great program,” said Arocha, who brought her 2-year-old Rottweiler Leo yet again to the event. “We’ve been coming since he was just a few months old. I like support this park, and it helps raise awareness of pets in need. Leo likes the free treats,” she laughed.

 

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