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Dozens of dogs, owners participate in Pet Fun Match

January 10, 2019

HARLINGEN — Pet lovers in the community were invited to a different kind of event yesterday — one in which both pets and owners were able to learn how to help their bond grow stronger.

Sunshine RV Resort residents hosted their first Pet Fun Match.

All kinds of dogs, from small to large and young to old, spent the day participating with their owners in numerous activities, such as a pet parade, dog show competitions and training demonstrations from PetSmart staff and local K-9 trainers.

Sunshine RV Resort resident and Pet Fun Match volunteer Sharon Battocletti was excited to showcase an event she says has never happened before in the lower Valley.

Anne Lewis and Rags, her 4-month-old Shih Tzu, Schnauzer mix, participated in several contest categories, such as best pet lookalike and fastest come when called.

“ It was fun to see all of the things that are happening here at the dog show,” Lewis said. “Animals are such great companions that give people unconditional love.”

A key takeaway from the event was showing owners the capabilities that all dogs have no matter their age, breed or behavior.

“ A lot of people don’t realize that you can train your pet,” Battocletti explained. “So, I’m hoping they’ll realize that it’s good for everything.”

Battocletti’s passion for animals began when she was a child.

“ I’ve carried a dog with me before Paris Hilton has ever carried a dog in her purse,” Battocletti said with a laugh. “I loved dogs and cats and have always had one.”

In addition to a dog competition, adoptable dogs from the Humane Society of Harlingen were showcased and paraded around the room in hopes of finding their forever home.

“ It breaks my heart when I’m driving down the street and I see dogs running loose that are skinny and look sick,” Battocletti said. “There’s no reason for that.”

Humane Society of Harlingen Executive Director Lilia Castillo Jones thought the event was very beneficial for people and the animals.

“ A kitten was adopted and a lot of people brought their existing pets over to see how they interact with the dogs that we brought in today, so I think it was helpful,” Castillo said with a smile.

Battocletti plans to have more vendors and demonstrators at the next Pet Fun Match.

“ I’m hoping we’ll build on this and make it a much bigger event,” Battocletti said. “I also hope other RV parks will pick up the message because if we’re educated with our pets, then we get less throw away pets.”

ahernandez@valleystar.com

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