News

Dogs and owners invited to 'Dog-O-Ween'

Festival this Saturday is free, but donations will benefit Palo Alto Animal Shelter

A Palo Alto High School student is calling all dogs and their owners to come to Rinconada Park this Saturday, for Dog-O-Ween, a benefit for the Palo Alto Animal Shelter.

The free event will offer entertainment, food, "cute dogs" and prizes in categories like "best dressed" dog and "best couple costume" (dog and owner).

Any donations will go to Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter.

The event is the brainchild of Paly senior Kristen DeStefano, who volunteers at the animal shelter and is a youth board member of Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter.

"We're going to make it as Halloween-y as possible," she said in a recent interview at Paly.

"Some of my friends are just going to bring their dogs because they don't have a costume but, I don't know, I think the prizes (for dogs in costume) are pretty good."

Entertainment will be offered by the Paly girls guitar duo Remi and Chloe.

DeStefano says she begged her parents for a dog through elementary school, but with one family member allergic to dogs, they resisted.

Unbeknownst to them, she said, she was on the internet corresponding with breeders of "hypo-allergenic" dogs as a 10-year-old fifth grader. When she was 11, her parents finally relented.

She remembers picking out her puppy from a litter in the trunk of a car at a McDonald's in Los Banos. "All the siblings were black and Meeko, my dog, was the only one that was salt and pepper," she recalled.

Since last year, DeStefano has volunteered weekly at the Palo Alto Animal Shelter, where she walks dogs and helps train puppies.

"I just give them love, because they don't have any," she said. "You're not supposed to reach your hand in, so the only people they get to play with are the volunteers."

She has worked with other board members of the shelter friends group to gather a host of business sponsors for Saturday's Dog-O-Ween, which also is sponsored by the City of Palo Alto.

Catherine Kirkman, an adult member of the board, said Dog-O-Ween will be a "unique cross-generational effort."

"I really enjoy passing out fliers and explaining that I am working on this at the direction of our high school kids," said Kirkman, a retired partner from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

"I was distributing fliers the other day around the Rinconada neighborhood and one of the people I ran into was the retired Walter Hays librarian, who knew Kristen from elementary school. In a town where the dialogue can be sometimes fractious, it's nice to be working on a cause that everyone can agree on."

DeStefano herself will miss the set-up for Saturday's Dog-O-Ween event because she has to take the ACT test for her college applications.

But she expects to be there before start time with Meeko, who will turn seven this year and has seven different costumes, plus two Christmas outfits -- Santa and Rudolf.

Dog-O-Ween runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the bowl at Rinconada Park. Dog costume categories include best dressed, scariest dressed, best family-theme dressed and best couple costume.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

Please, a suggestion on wording:

Not dog "owner" --

Let's say "guardian" instead.

We need to re-think our relationships with our companion animals.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Owner
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

I own a dog. I consider myself his owner. I got him at PA Animal Services. He gets top quality grain free food. Shots are up to date. "Fixed." Gets taken out at least twice a day and on trips hiking or to the beach once a week. But I guess to you he is poorly treated because I don't say "guardian."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jose Gonzales
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 24, 2013 at 11:30 am

i own a dog and he hates me. Tried treats, massages, everything but in vain Can someone help me help my dog to love me? Thanks. I am desperate!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yes I OWN one
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 24, 2013 at 11:43 am

Glad there is an event that will make the streets more walkable by people. The dogs will be occupied elsewhere.
Dogs are property, alive, like other living things, which we also treat with care. Please don't turn them into human beings, it sounds a little pathetic.
Adopt a child if you want to do something humane.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 24, 2013 at 3:48 pm

What a wonderful event! Kudos to Kristen DeStefano and everyone else involved in organizing this. I look forward to it.

As to moi's comment, language does matter, and defines how we perceive things. That dogs or cats are considered property diminishes their significance, and opens the door to poor treatment by uncaring people. Property is a car or a book, not a living thing. Not at all "pathetic," but thoughtful and kind.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm

This sounds like a a great and clever idea!
I like this event better than the one at Town and Country because this event is actually for a very good cause and is affiliated with the shelter.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm

@Jose Gonzalez. My dog didn't like me at first. It took time for him to trust me. He still doesn't like family members who hit him or threatened to throw their shoes at him. Dogs are kind of like children, they remember who is mean or nice to them. Also, my dog became friendlier with me because I walked him. He bonded with family members who took him for a walk. I guess it's part of his pact mentality, being part of our family. Watch dog whisperer if you can. It helps.


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