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Pets The Focus Of Events In Township

Some of the dogs – and their owners – who participated in the Spring Hills Somerset Pawfest.


Pets were the focus of two events held in the township on Oct. 21.

St. Matthias Church held its annual St. Francis Day celebration in the school, and Spring Hills Somerset assisted living community held its annual Pawfest for center residents, family and friends.

Information on pet care and adoption, and pictures of some of the animals available for adoption from the Franklin Township Animal Shelter, were featured during the St. Matthias event.

Allison Trovato, left, and Edie Balint decorate pet items at the St. Matthias St. Francis Day celebration.

Also offered was a class on pet first aid and CPR, as well as a visit from members of the Somerset County Animal Response Team.

“Our theme this year is pet theme crafts,” said Donna Fazio, facilitator of the church’s Animal Concerns Ministry. “Everything from personalizing your dog bowl, personalizing your place mat to personalizing your pooper scooper bags. Anything you can think of.”

“If you don’t have a pet, you can even make a pet rock,” she said.

The Somerset CART team’s appearance was something new, Fazio said.

CART is a “federal program run by volunteers that in the event that we ever had to evacuate in Franklin Township, they would help to set up housing for the animals,” she said. “They would hold the animals until the evacuee could be reunited with their pet. We’re very fortunate to have them here.”

“After Hurricane Katrina, a lot of people didn’t want to leave and they stayed in a dangerous situation because they didn’t want to abandon their pets,” she said. “Being pet lovers, we can understand that.”

The CPR class was organized by another member of the animal ministry, Donna Kahora, Fazio said.

“To volunteer for CART, you have to be pet first aid and CPR certified,” Fazio said. “So hopefully some of the people who take this class will volunteer for CART. That would be great.”

Here’s a conversation with members of the CART Team the Franklin Reporter & Advocate live-streamed:

 

At Spring Hills Somerset – which is a pet-friendly facility – residents celebrated their 6th annual Pawfest.

“We have residents, families, townspeople, anyone, bring any animal they want to dress in costume,” said Susan Porecca, Spring Hills’ director of recreational services. “We had three resident judges, and they judged the animals based on personality, their costume and everything like that. The winner won a gift card to PetSmart.”

Lola was the winner of the Spring Hills Somerset pet parade.

“It’s just enjoyable for the residents,” she said. “It’s pet therapy.”

The pets entered in the judging also participated in a parade for the residents, and then a second parade in the facility’s Memory Care Unit.

Trick-or-Treating – for the dogs as well as any children who attended – and refreshments were also on the day’s agenda, Porecca said.

“One resident came dressed as a cat so she won a prize as well,” she said.

 

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