Pet–A–Palooza pulls canine crowds

Did you attend this year’s Pet-A-Palooza at Hoover’s Veterans Park Valleydale? If not, you missed the major social event of the year… for dogs.

Neither cloudy cold day nor brisk wind deterred crowds of humans and their canines. By 9:08 a.m. on Nov. 15 vendor tents, local TV and radio booths transformed the hillside.

Decked out in neck kerchiefs or bright collars dogs of all types, colors and sizes strained at leashes, yipped and yelped.

The runners for the 5K Run and Woof Walk sped down the trail, running and woofing. This event’s entry fee will benefit Birmingham Human Society’s 10,000 pets seen per year.

On the trail, I intercepted a cute couple: a Jack Russell Terrier named Skipper and his adopted human friend, Marsha Gunter.

“Skipper found me,” Marsha explained. “He kept following me, so one day I took him home. I located his owner, but he didn’t want Skipper. Now he’s mine.” She smiled.

Listening intently to our conversation, Skipper seemed happy too.

Usually it’s the other way around, humans adopt dogs. And pet adoption availed itself to many at the Pet-A-Palooza: animals from the Humane Society with their sad eyes pleading, “Take me home, please.”

One rule of the event: all dogs must be vaccinated and well–mannered. Expect dogs to have people manners and you’ll be disappointed, their owners affirm.

But the wide open spaces of the park and crisp air containing hundreds of new dog acquaintances made for an entertaining spectacle.

Pets and their respective humans were seen shopping vendors of homemade arts and crafts, grazing the food options while music floated over tents. Micro chipping of pets was available for those with dogs bound for traveling.

The occasional rain shower never seemed to dampen enthusiasm. Exciting stage events passed in a smear of color: a welcome by City officials, a Doggie Fashion Show, Owner-Pet-Look-a-Like Contest, a Blessing of the Pets and more.

Pet-A-Palooza was sponsored by several local corporations, including the media.

TV channel ABC 33/40 and radio 106.9 were present. Academy Sports and Outdoors sponsored a “Kid Fun Zone”: hands-on projects, inflatable playgrounds, building projects by Lowes, games by Academy Sports and Outdoors. These businesses partnered with Hoover Parks and Recreation to ensure a successful event.

If you missed this year’s Pet-A-Palooza be sure to look for the 2009 edition. Your dog will thank you… woof woof!

Gladys Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at

gsherrer@gmail.com.