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Hello Hillsboro: PetAPalooza highlight of trip
wiener race petapalooza
Contestants in the Wiener Dogs and Wiener Wannabes race at the Pet-A-Palooza festival in St. Paul near the finish line. - photo by Jack Knowles photo

Jane and I spent a great weekend visiting our daughter, Amy, and her husband, Adrian, in the Twin Cities area over the weekend, and we enjoyed our first Pet-A-Palooza festival at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul.

Never saw anything like it!

Thousands of proud pet owners parading their pets (mostly dogs) around the fairgrounds and competing in some outstanding “athletic” events, including an all-day Dog Dock Competition that attracted a large audience throughout the afternoon.

Large, trained dogs, mostly Labs, ran up and leaped high in the air off a platform into an Olympic sized swimming pool while hundreds of fans cheered their heads off.

The jumps were all measured for the championship results at the end of the day.

It was apparent that none of the jumpers were amateurs and they all appeared to be having a great time in the competition.

My personal favorite event, however, was the “Wiener Dogs and Wiener Wannabes” race that attracted many folks who enjoyed both the small grandstands and the small contestants.

It was flat-out fun watching the little speedsters race down a sizable track to their owners waiting at the other end.

Like the pool-jumping pets, the little guys were obviously having a great time racing in front of a crowd. The highlight came near the final race when an especially  speedy pup kept running right by its owner at the finish line and down the midway!

He might still be running for all I know, but, hopefully, the proud owner caught him in time to collect the trophy for that race!

I would say that one special race was worth twice the admission, but, believe it or not,  admission was free. A smile was probably the admission price because we sure saw plenty of them on folks walking around the grounds.

The sponsors had signs that said: “Pet-a-Palooza is a gift to you...the pet owner... to celebrate our love affair with our pets.”

Special exhibits included The Pet Buffet from The Urban Dog, and a cutest pet competition that included a dog wash from the folks at Venture Photography.

It was an extremely hot day and the sponsors had dozens of wading pools, filled with cool water, scattered all over the park for dogs to enjoy cooling off for a few minutes! They absolutely thought of everything that would make the afternoon more enjoyable for guests of honor!

One of the main purposes of the affair was to bring attention to the many pet adoption and rescue organizations that had booths attended by volunteers happy to chat with visitors about dogs looking for good homes.

Amy loves working for a marketing business that distributes pet supplies to stores all over the Midwest. And, get this. The management encourages employees to bring their pets to work with them!

Amy feels very comfortable bringing “Zelda” to her office that is equipped with a dog gate on the door. I know what you’re thinking but don’t worry. The dogs get regular potty breaks instead of coffee breaks!

Her and Adrian’s other dog, “Winston,” appears too excitable to participate. But he’s a loving little lad and would much rather be jumping into your lap than laying under a desk.

Needless to say, we were very impressed with all the fun involved in spending a day with more furry friends at Pet-A-Palooza than we have ever seen in one place.

Here’s the most amazing thing about the day. I can’t even guess how many dogs of all types were being walked on leashes, and we never saw even one incident involving an “unhappy camper.” They all appeared to be old friends!

I mentioned my amazement at the good nature exhibited by all the pet visitors.

Amy supplied a great explanation. All those dogs are being walked by owners who obviously have a tremendous interest in pets and their welfare, which is why they are visiting the Pet-A-Palooza. And, no doubt almost all of them have put a lot of time into behavioral training for their beloved pets.

Sure makes sense to me!

It will be a long time before my memories of that afternoon begin to fade. But, I’ll always wonder if that wiener race winner is still running!


Remember to send a get well card to Dr. P.C. Burch, who is recovering from recent surgery with family in Iowa.

The address is: Dr. P.C. Burch,  c/o Val Schultz, 4819 40th St.,Searsboro, Iowa  50242.