The annual Dog-tober Fest in Huntley attracted all manner of happy pooches and their smiling owners on Saturday, along with the occasional bark and hard tug of the leash.
Friends Lynn Fillmore of DeKalb and Kim Walter of Sugar Grove took Walter's two dogs to the event, which featured about 50 vendors including dog rescue organizations, pet schools, animal hospitals and dog treat makers.
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Walter said she was particularly interested in a photographer for a portrait of Lucy, a doxiepoo, and Sally, a schnoodle.
There was also entertainment like the Barn Hunt Rat Bust, featuring a search by sniffing pooches for a rat hidden in a metal container.
West Dundee residents Ken and Yvonne Smith said their cairn terriers, Rusty and Riley, didn't do very well.
"We had to prompt Rusty to find it," Ken Smith said. Riley might just have stumbled upon the right container while pawing at everything, his wife said.
Pat Schinka started the event about eight years ago when she owned Maddi's Doggie Daycare Center in Huntley. The Huntley Park District took over five years ago, she said.
"We don't raise a lot of money. It's just a fun event to educate the public," said Schinka, whose family has three rescue great danes.
Misconceptions about pit bulls make many people steer clear of them, said Kim Ashbaugh, a board member for Bombshell Bullies pit bull rescue in Vernon Hills. Their dogs go through behavior and obedience training before being placed, she said.
People must let go of preconceived notions when choosing dogs, said Linda Conro, of Elgin-based West Burb Wieners, which raises money to help rescue groups.
"There's no, 'I want this color, or male or female,'" she said. "You need the best personality that matches your personality and your family."
Frank and Marilou Geib of Crystal Lake weren't quite sure how their young dogs -- 2-year-old Sadie, a bearded collie, and 1-year-old Pidge, a boxer -- would fare around so many others.
"They did great," Marilou Geib said. "I love it. I never even knew about this before."
Andrew and Wendi Rosulek of Lakewood came sans dog to give their 17-month-old boy, Allagash, a chance to get acquainted with pooches. "It's fun for him to see all these dogs," Andrew Rosulek said. "We might even foster one some day."