Man and man's best friend braved the cool weather together Saturday for the annual Great Plains Poochez Palooza.
Temperatures weren't even out of the 40s by midday when the brunt of the activities started. Dogs of all sizes, breeds and ages mingled respectfully, for the most part with one another while owners talked amongst themselves. Red dirt group the Lee Mullen Band performed music throughout the afternoon pausing every so often for one of the many dog-related activities. The music provided ample opportunity for the local dog mascot to break into a dance, inviting human and dog alike to join in. Only one person took the invitation.
"I saw what was going on and could not help but to get involved," Constance Brown said.
Brown was volunteering as part of Meadow Wood Animal Hospital's booth. As she was leaving for the day, she saw the dog dancing a jig and partook. This is the first year she's attended the Poochez Palooza, but said she should be returning in the future.
"I love it," Brown said. "I have two dogs and two cats. This is a great thing they're doing."
While most visitors walked around and checked out the numerous animal-related vendors, they often paused and returned to the main stage east of the museum to watch one of the many contests and competitions. Kathryn Carroll sat on one of the many hay bales stacked for seating along with her mother and German shepherd mix, Scooter. She was called up to test her hand in smashing pumpkins just in time for Halloween. With Scooter looking on, Carroll took several swings, but eventually smashed the pumpkin with the wooden mallet. The family comes out every year to the palooza and said they enjoyed it just as much this year as any.
"It's great to bring Scooter out," she said. "He's such a gentle dog and gets along with everyone."