Woofstock set for the ‘dog days’ of summer

The weather might be ... ummm rough, but the Woofstock’Pet Adoption and Music Festival goes off leash this year for a day of pet fun.

The Dugan Foundation’s sixth annual Woofstock on Aug. 4 at University of Puget Sound’s Todd Field will not only provide family entertainment and music, but it will also pair some 100 families with the right adoptable pet and raise money for pet projects around the region.

“We have worked very hard over the years to refine the adoption process at Woofstock to reduce the possibility that animals end up in inappropriate situations,” said event organizer Melisa Evangelos. “We screen our accepted rescues and shelters to ensure that each has procedures in place for ensuring that the animals go to homes that are prepared to meet the needs of the new pet. Each organization has a rigorous application process that screens for a stable home or apartment situation, a safe, secure place for the animal and an appropriate fit regarding the temperament of the particular animal and the members of the household. We also require that each rescue charges an adoption fee that both helps cover the actual cost of caring for the rescued animal and discourages an impulse adoption.”

The screening process includes an interview and evaluation of the prospective adopters that further screens out the would-be pet owners from making a quick decision they might regret later. Unlike car sales, the want-to-be pet owners have to prove they are worthy of the adoption.

“The rescue organizations that come to Woofstock have worked extensively placing adopted animals, and they have a good feel for who would and wouldn’t make a good owner for a particular pet,” Evangelos said. “At each Woofstock, there are inevitably those who leave disappointed without a new pet because the screeners determined that it would not be in the best interest of the animal to be placed with that particular family or individual. However, there are many more successful placements.”

Some of the organizations at Woofstock do not even do on-site adoptions because they deal with animals that need an even more rigorous screening process to ensure a proper placement. Some of these animals have come from abusive situations or are purebred rescues that have particular health or behavior issues that necessitate additional scrutiny.

Pet ownership is a serious decision, one that is taken very seriously, she said, noting that organizations also routinely have a waiting period between a site visit with an animal and a potential new family to ensure that an adoption is a successful match for both the new owners and the animals.

“We take this issue very seriously, and we want all of our on-site adoptions to be successful,” Evangelos said. “We are well aware of the unfortunate outcomes associated with impulse pet adoptions.”

The economic downturn has made the trouble of impulse pet ownership worse, especially in rural areas, organizer Julie Dugan said. Pets in rural areas have found themselves simply “set free” into the wild when owners cannot afford to take care of them.

“Cats are subjected to this fate more often than dogs, with people assuming that they can fend for themselves,” she said. “One of the results is a huge number of free roaming cats. This problem was huge prior to the decline in the economy, but it has only gotten worse. Free roaming cat colonies have given jurisdictional authorities a crisis.”

With that backdrop, Woofstock still strives to be fun for families and pets looking for matches. Alongside the dogs, cats, bunnies, birds and ferrets adoption options will be dozens of pet-related information, product and service booths. Oh yeah, and music. There will be lots and lots of music. The music lineup includes: Maya & Matt, Gina Belliveau, Kim Archer Band, Sevens Revenge and Automatic Theory offering styles from Celtic and soulful pop, to blues and alternative rock. Non-music entertainment includes “disk dog” demonstrations and a kids zone sponsored by Gig Harbor Academy that will have games, face painting and activities.

Money raised will go to the foundation’s grant program and the development of a 15-acre, off-leash dog park in Tacoma.

Participating animal agencies include: 2 Million Dogs 2 Miles (canine cancer walk), Cascade Bulldog Rescue, Chihuahua Rescue & Referral, Concern for Animals, Denise’s Delightful Dookers (ferrets), Feral Cat Spay Neuter Project, Genevieve G. Animal Advocacy, Grant County Animal Outreach, Greyhound Pets of America Northwest, Homeward Pet Adoption Center, Humane Society of Central Washington, Kindred Souls Foundation, Noah’s Pet Project, Pasado’s Safe Haven, Pierce County Animal Control, Prison Pet Partnership, Puyallup Animal Rescue, Rescuing Animals in Need, Regional Animal Services of King County, Royal Hounds, Scottish Terrier Rescue of the Northwest, Second Chance Dogs, Siberians Needing Owners, Sunny Sky’s Animal Rescue, South County Cats, The Humane Society for Tacoma/Pierce County, Wenatchee Valley Humane Society, Washington State Animal Response Team, Woof Pack Animal Rescue and Yakima Valley Pet Rescue.

Woofstock 2012, which aims to bringing people together to have a great time and collaborate in support of developing Washington into a sustainable, no-kill state, runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 4. The field is located at 1500 N. Warner St. More information is available at www.duganfoundation.org.

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