VINELAND – Dogs and their owners enjoyed a Hawaiian luau on Saturday thanks to the dedicated members of the Junior Volunteer group at the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Dressed in Hawaiian leis and pet bathing suits, dogs splashed in and out of plastic kiddie pools set up to create the Bow Wow Beach during the Luv-A-Pet Luau.
Some dogs, such as Sir Moe, an English bulldog owned by Matt Wiita of Vineland, walked from pool to pool and eventually laid down in the cool water. “We like bringing our dogs around other dogs. It’s like a social event for them,” said Wiita.
Although it was still hot on Saturday, the heat was not as dangerous as last weekend, the original date for the luau. Temperatures were predicted to reach 100 degrees on July 23, so organizers postponed the event for a week.
“We didn’t want to harm any of the dogs, and we didn’t want to put our junior volunteers at risk,” said Maria Stoerrle, director of the Junior Volunteer program, noting that postponing the luau was an ideal example of making responsible pet-ownership decisions.
The Luv-A-Pet Luau was organized and staffed by the Junior Volunteers with support from the SPCA staff.
“We want to get the kids involved with fun activities because we want them to have the chance to learn about the shelter,” said Stoerrle. “Also, all the activity may attract people to come into the shelter. You never know when someone is going to make a connection with an animal.”
Kristen Smith of Vineland brought her dog, Benny, to the luau. She adopted him from the Cumberland County SPCA six months ago and wanted to bring him out to see the staff and the volunteers. “They like to see the happy endings,” said Smith.
Activities included games and crafts for children, refreshments for pet owners, a paw print activity, dog baths and beach-themed pet photos.
Steve Tatz of Crusin’ 92.1 volunteered to serve as DJ throughout the event, and representatives from Kizzy’s Place rescue were on hand with a few cats and kittens that are available for adoption. A&M Bounce-A-Lot donated the dunk tank and refreshments.