COOKEVILLE – For Caleb Rice, every day can be a good day with his dog, Thor.
“Thor has saved me from myself,” he said of his brown and white Staffordshire Bull Terrier. “I can’t remember a time when I had a bad day and got home and it continued to be bad.”
Andrea Kruszka, another dog owner, described her beagle, Raz, as a ball of energy.
“She loves going on adventures at all the parks in and around Cookeville and making new friends wherever she goes,” she said. “She has so much personality.”
Both Rice and Kruszka say their four-legged friends are “Top Dog” to them – and they’re not the only ones who feel that way.
With that in mind, Cookeville Leisure Services is offering dog owners an opportunity to honor their pets in a Top Dog photo display at the department’s eighth annual Dogapalooza, which is May 6 from 1-4 p.m. at Dogwood Park.
“This is a chance to show off your dog,” Cathy Benich, event organizer, said. “Last year, quite a few people stopped to look at the photos and enjoyed reading about what each of the dogs meant to their owners.”
Those planning to participate have until May 3 to send their photos, along with their dog’s name, breed and two to three sentences about why their dog is “Top Dog” to them. Photos may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed or dropped off at the Cookeville Leisure Services office in the Cookeville Municipal Building at 45 E. Broad St.
Jennifer Brown is among those who have already submitted photos. Her special dog, a beagle terrier mix, is named Sydney.
“She is my youngest daughter’s best friend and protector,” Brown said. “She follows her everywhere she goes and sleeps in the bottom bunk of her bunk beds.”
Rebecca Decker sent a photo of her Collie, Piper.
“Piper is a top dog because he is a faithful, loyal friend,” she said.
Event organizers hope the photo display will be a good representation of all the dogs that add to life in the community.
Dogapalooza is a free event for dogs and the people who love them. It features an off-leash play area, pet-related vendors, adoptable pets and a kids’ dog show.
“It’s a great opportunity to get outside with your dog and visit local vendors,” Benich said of the event, which is sponsored by First National Bank of Tennessee and First Realty Company.
So far, vendors include the Cookeville-Putnam County Animal Shelter, Putnam County Sheriff K-9 deputies, Friends of Cookeville/Putnam County Animals, Cookeville K9-n-Friends, POPS (Pals of the Pooches at the White County Animal Shelter), Cumberland Art Society, Putnam County Library, Keep Putnam County Beautiful Clean Commission, Dog & Co., Pal World, Greyhound Pets of America, Cumberland Pet Grooming & Boutique, Miss Jen’s Pet Treats, Walkio, PFLAG Cookeville and American Self Serve Dog Wash.
Children wishing to compete in the dog show, which is for ages 16 and under, must register by 2:15 p.m. The contest begins at 2:30 p.m. First, second and third place winners will be selected in each of the following categories: most obedient, best trick, loudest bark, prettiest dog, and dog/owner look-alike. First place winners will go on to compete for best of show.
“It’s a great way to spend time with your pet and give them some TLC,” Cara Sheets, dog show organizer, said. “It also creates memories for families and lets them focus on their amazing furry friend.”
For more information about Dogapalooza, call Cookeville Leisure Services at 931-520-4386 or visit www.cookeville-tn.gov/ls.