Pensacola, Florida
Monday October 15th 2018


Going to the Dogs

By Shelby Nalepa

The paws-down best dog event in the area is this Saturday and is one not to be missed. Pensacola Humane Society’s 17th annual Barktoberfest is a guaranteed good time for owners and pets alike.

Pensacola Humane Society’s Assistant Director Stefanie Snyder said that Barktoberfest is their best outreach event of the year. They typically see around 10,000 people at Barktoberfest, so Snyder said it’s the perfect time to showcase who they are and what they do through their staff and volunteers.

“At the event we have adoptable dogs and cats, we speak to the community about animal rescue and give out information about our Barbara Grice Memorial Spay and Neuter Clinic,” she said. “Funds are raised via our sponsors, t-shirt sales, silent auction, contests and donations. Typically we raise approximately $50,000 at Barktoberfest.”

There are over 100 vendors at Barktoberfest including rescues, food trucks, photographers, local non-profits and other organizations.

“There are contests including best kisser, best trick, best costume and owner pet look-alike,” Snyder said. “The Rescued Rescuers will hold Dachshund Races throughout the day and there will be demonstrations by Country Canines Square Dancing, Positive Splash Dog Training, America’s Vet Dogs and Five Flags Training Club in the demo ring.”

Snyder said that Pensacola Humane Society works hard to maintain relationships with local animal control and rescue facilities.

“We transfer animals from both Escambia County Animal Shelter and Santa Rosa Animal Shelter whenever we have the space to do so,” she said. “We also will intake animals from local rescues if they need help getting an animal medical treatment or increased visibility for adoption. Occasionally we will also transfer one of our animals into a foster-based rescue if the animal isn’t dealing well with the shelter environment here. We are all working towards the same goal and it always benefits the animals for us to all work together.”

Since opening in 2015, Snyder said that the Barbara Grice Memorial Spay and Neuter Clinic for dogs and cats has performed 14,517 spay and neuter surgeries. And last year, Pensacola Humane Society adopted out 1,054 animals and is hoping to adopt out 1,060 in 2017.

“Every year we see hundreds of animals come into the shelter, especially during kitten season in the spring and summer months,” Snyder said. “Due to the pet overpopulation in our area, our kennels are never empty. We currently have a nineteen-page waitlist of animals waiting to be surrender into our facility. At seven animals per page, that is approximately 133 animals waiting to be surrendered by their owners or caregivers.”

In 2016, Snyder said that 1,064 animals came into their facility as owner or caregiver surrenders, which includes folks who find an animal and are unable to locate an owner after the three-to-five-day stray hold mandated by Escambia County.

“Each time a cat or dog is adopted, it opens up a space for a new dog or cat to come into the shelter,” she said. “We’re proud to say that our adoption numbers have increased every single year, so we have had more space to take in animals because of that.”

Snyder said that she firmly believes that there is an animal out there for everyone.

“An adopted pet is just as loving, beautiful and intelligent as a pet from a pet store or breeder,” she said. “And if you do want a specific breed, there are plenty of purebreds available in shelters or in pure-bred rescues. There will be 20 animal rescue organizations at Barktoberfest and most of them will have animals up for adoption.”

Snyder said that when you adopt a pet from a rescue or shelter, you are always saving two lives, the life of the animal you adopt and the life of the animal that can now take its place.

“With adoption, you help to break the cycle of pet overpopulation—there just are not enough homes for the number of animals born every year,” Snyder said. “When you go to a breeder, you typically end up with a puppy, often from a puppy mill or other backyard breeder, that has received little to no medical care.”

Rescues participating in Barktoberfest 2017 are Animal Allies, The Joy Committee, The Rescued Rescuers, Save Our Cocker Spaniels Inc., Sunshine State Animal Rescue, Save Underdogs, Sunshine State Westie Rescue, PAWS, Amazing Grace Bully Rescue, Greyhound Pets of the Emerald Coast, Happy Tails Retriever Rescue, Northwest Florida Great Dane Rescue, Flori Bama Small Breed Rescue, Friends of Escambia County Animal Shelter, A Hope for Santa Rosa County, Southbark, Junior Humane Society and Dogs on Deployment.

“Animals from shelters and rescues come vaccinated, microchipped, de-wormed and spayed or neutered,” Snyder said. “Shelters and rescues also typically offer support after adoption, including medical or behavioral help or pet insurance, while most backyard breeders offer nothing. At a shelter or rescue, you can pick the age and personality of the animal you want to adopt, as some folks would prefer an older or more established dog or cat that is already potty-trained or knows commands. Lastly, when you adopt a pet, you send a message to your friends and family that adoption is the best option.”

WHAT: Pensacola Humane Society’s 17th annual dog-friendly festival
WHEN: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28
WHERE: Seville Square
COST: Free

Schedule of Events
Demonstration Area
9 a.m. Open to the public
10 a.m. Positive Splash Dog Training
10:45 a.m. America’s Vet Dogs
11:30 a.m. Five Flags Dog Training Club
1 p.m. Positive Splash Dog Training
1:45 p.m. America’s Vet Dogs
2:30 p.m. Five Flags Dog Training Club

Fountain Square Stage
9 a.m. Contest registration opens
10 a.m. Country Canines Square Dancing
10:30 Contests begin: Best Costume, Best Trick, Best Kisser, Owner Pet Lookalike
Noon Contest registration opens
2:30 p.m. Contests begin: Best Costume, Best Trick, Best Kisser, Owner Pet Lookalike

Dachshund Races
11:30 a.m. Small dog races
2 p.m. Dachshund races