Poochapalooza celebrates dogs and their owners

MARYSVILLE — The heat aside, July 11 was still one of the dog days of summer.

Hundreds of dog lovers came out to celebrate their beloved pets at the fourth annual Poochapalooza at Marysville’s Asbery Field.

Local businesses and non-profits set up booths touting their canine credentials, with groups as varied as the Seattle Humane Society and a local realtor welcoming furry friends in for a hello and possible treat. Others were breed advocates, with a pit bull rescue group well-situated near the main tent, about four dogs relaxing in its shade.

In the main tent, dogs and their owners sat around the outside of a short fence watching as others performed tricks, danced or competed by size and length of tail inside.

Marysville resident Jill Borchers sat watching in the early afternoon with her young dog Tyson, enjoying the cool of the tent’s west edge.

“He’s the first that’s my own,” Borchers said of her dog, who was about five months old. It was both Tyson and Borchers’ first Poochapalooza. “It’s one of a kind to bring your dog here. He’s like a child. It’s the best friend you’ll ever have.”

Organizer Ruth Smethers agreed that the event celebrated the unique bond between dogs and humans.

Both a dog owner and cat owner, Smethers said, “I can’t imagine a cat liking to come here. I think dogs love us. And we love them for that.”

Poochapalooza began four years ago as a fundraiser for an off-leash dog park in Marysville, a feat that was accomplished with the park’s opening this year. Proceeds from the event still benefit the park, but organizers raise money in other ways, like the new raffle, instead of charging at the door.

“As we’ve grown, it’s become about awareness,” Smethers said.

The Seattle Humane Society was represented at Poochapalooza with a small dog contingent and an air conditioned mobile adoption shelter dubbed the Maxmobile, with just under a dozen cats available for adoption.

“I think any event like this that educates people on taking better care of their pets contributes to the mission of the Seattle Humane Society,” said Maxmobile program manager Bill Kueser. He had already sent a chihuahua home with a new family already that day.

“We want to invite people to come again next year,” said Smethers.

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