02/16/14 — Dogs of all shapes, sizes 'woof' it up

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Dogs of all shapes, sizes 'woof' it up

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on February 16, 2014 1:50 AM

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Two-year-old Anson Savery of Goldsboro pets Flossy Mae, a 2-year-old beagle, who is held by Denise Moody, during Saturday's Woof Fest at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fairgrounds.

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United States Air Force Staff Sgt. John Makripodis and canine cop Tonic demonstrate how a dog can be just as effective as a human when it comes to fighting crime during Saturday's Woof Fest at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fairgrounds.

Wayne County residents came out for all things canine Saturday to the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fairgrounds for the first Woof Fest, sponsored by the Curtis Media Group.

The festivities included vendor booths, competitions and exhibitions by both airmen from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's canine security force as well as the Wayne County Sheriff's Office K-9 Team.

Participants got to see the six phases of aggression from Tonic, a 4-year-old German shepherd working in the base's canine force.

"Tonic" is one of 10 dogs working with the base.

Ssgt. John Makripodis played the punching bag Saturday while Tonic demonstrated running down, apprehending and leading a captive around the building.

"I am the decoy. I actually volunteered for it today," he said. "For the dogs, this is play."

The dogs and their handlers are part of the 4th Security Forces, Military Working Dog Unit.

"Each handler stays with one dog that they are assigned," Staff Sgt. Forrest George said. "Our dogs have a law enforcement aspect, assisting (law enforcement officers), interdiction, perimeter security and explosive detection."

In the Wayne County Sheriff's Office K9 Team, the dogs are more socialized than their on-base counterparts.

"One thing we make sure we do is train them to be very sociable," Deputy Jason Sasser said. "We want them to be that way for these demonstrations so people can come up to them and see them."

The officers began by showcasing Moxy, Deputy Billy Rivenbark's partner, in a drug-sniffing exercise.

After a drug-sniffing demonstration, Shelly was brought out to run down Rivenbark as if he were a suspect as well.

"We can turn these dogs on and off like a light switch," Sasser said. "But for those few seconds she'll, well there's no other word for it, she'll be plain out mean. But when she's done Deputy Rivenbark will walk right up and love on her and you'll see how nice she is."

Vendors at the event ranged from non-profit adoption groups to pharmacies and pet supply stores.

Competitions were held for cutest dog, most licks and most barks as well as biggest and smallest dog, best trick and a dog/owner look-a-like contest.

Oreo, an 11-month old terrier, took cutest dog Saturday with its owner, Allison Cox, taking home $100 in prize money.

Sandra Steed and her dog Luther took the licking competition in a landslide victory of 62 licks.

"He'll just love on anyone who lets him," Ms. Steed said. "His daddy won't let him give him kisses, so I get them all."

Dawn Traveny with Welfare of Our Furry Friends set up a booth to advertise which dogs they had up for adoption at the event.

"You can tell us which dog you want, and we'll bring them out to your house for a visit to make sure everything is good," she said.

Anyone hoping to adopt a dog must have a fenced in yard for the dog.

"I just think it's safer that way," Ms. Traveny said. "I have been an animal lover my whole life. Growing up my parents always had a fenced in yard and out dogs lived a very long time."

The adoption fee for a pet is $50 and all of the animals are up to date on all vaccines and are spayed or neutered, she said.

The organization has been around since 1999, and Ms. Traveny has been helping out for the last eight years.

She said the organization always can use more volunteers, foster homes for animals and donations.

WOOFF can be contacted at www.wooff.com.

Another organization at the first Woof Fest was Crazy's Claws N' Paws, formerly Purrrfect Friends Cat Rescue.

Representatives of the organization were offering micro-chipping of pets for $20 for the first pet and $15 for additional pets.

"We used to only work with cats, but when we started working with dogs we had to change the name," Tammie Hedges said.

Ms. Hedges said that micro-chipping animals shows no side effects and that the advantages of a microchip is that it won't be lost like a traditional collar and tag could be.

The chips also hold more information that a collar tag would.

Ms. Hedges said anyone wanting to get their dog chipped should contact her at 919-394-5708 or by email at crazysclawsandpaws@yahoo.com.