Second Chance holds 10th Paws in the Park

Every now and then man’s best friend needs a weekend off too; just a few hours to chill with his buddies enjoying juicy rawhide and a big glass of au de toilet bowl. No ‘sits’ or ‘heals’ are needed on a lazy dog day.

Second Chance has hosted a giant puppy-party for the past decade. Well, it is a little more serious than that. Paws in the Park is a pet-expo that offers on the spot adoption, pet nutrition speakers and a 5K for humans and canines.

The event is on Sept. 14 at Stephen’s Lake Park, with registration starting at 7 a.m. The day includes multiple timed runs, a dog diving contest, silent auction and behavior seminar. As with previous years, many outside vendors will have informational booths and products for pets and their owners.

Valerie Chaffin, Second Chance Executive Director, said because it is their 10th anniversary they are going all out. There will be a giant pool for the dog diving tournament — imagine dozens of dogs on the dock, little and big paws poised for their elegant dives after an entire afternoon of practice.  There will also be a free kid’s fun area.

All shelter dogs that are not too sick to attend will be there, as will a few kittens who do not mind the crazy environment, Chaffin said. The best part though, she said, is seeing the old dogs return to see their friends.

“We didn’t plan it to be a reunion, it just happened that way,” Chaffin said. “But our alums that have been adopted come back. … Their parents love to show how helpful we were and wonderful the dog it is now. … We get to see every year the impact we have on the community and that is priceless.”

MU junior, Farah El-Jayyousi, double major in psychology and women’s and gender studies from Columbia, Mo., is one such happy customer. She’s a self-proclaimed “cat person.” Her family has had four cats, all of whom they have adopted — Bo, Kiwi, Luna and Beo. El-Jayyousi’s parents surprised her family with Beo, their current cat, when they brought him from Second Chance. More than just good company, she said, pets help us be happier, more stable people.

“Pets are good for your mental health,” El-Jayyousi said. “It’s proven that pets in general reduce stress, and that affects your physical health. They can prevent and lesson depression and anxiety.”

Beo is a sneaky little white-pawed kitten and loves to escape through the front door El-Jayyousi said. And he makes the family laugh – a good fit for the El-Jayyousi’s.

That’s Second Chance’s purpose, Chaffin said, putting great pets with great families. Paws in the Park’s objective is to fundraise for the shelter and facilitate adoptions for the community.  Pre-approval on adoption papers can make the process quicker.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for anyone looking to adopt, learn about their pets or just have a great time,” Chaffin said. “And the pets have a great time too.”

Maria Kalaitzandonakes

About the Author Maria

I’m a CoMo native with a mile-long last name. I’m a sucker for wool socks, classic Coca Cola and afternoon naps. If I had a pet, I’d dub it Pigwidgeon, or maybe Alastor. I’ve stood right in between Asia and Europe, eaten my weight in lamb meat and walked the Great Wall. I’m fluent in Greek and a little wobbly in Spanish. I’ve broken my arm and lost five pairs of glasses. And I say both with an L, as in boLth, like a true Missourian. Before I became a tiger, I was a bruin, at Columbia’s very own Rock Bridge High School. There I got my start in agriculture and journalism. I ran the student newspaper and magazine, learning that I had a love for storytelling. CAFNR is where I call home right now, as an Agricultural Economics and Science and Agricultural Journalism double-major student. Someday I may use this degree for a career in agricultural public policy or foreign agricultural services. But for now, I’m just a freshman with some pretty blurry pipe dreams.