By Janice Eck
Photographs by Esther Kim
High Desert Daily
(Victor Valley)– The Orange County Fairgrounds welcomed the 24th Annual America’s Family Pet Expo from April 19-21. The Pet Expo is a great time for families and experts to come together to help owners get to know their pet better or for new owners to get familiar with a pet before they bring it home. From dogs and cats to rabbits, lizards, and snakes, the Pet Expo was the place to be for pet education and entertainment.
“Captain Megasis”, known as Bolt to friends and family, took time out of his busy schedule to come to the Pet Expo and take pictures with attendees and fans of Disney’s “Super Buddies.” Pet celebrities like Mick who plays “Stan” on Dog with a Blog and Milo who plays “Baby” on How to Live with Your Parents also attended the Pet Expo.
With so many pets travelling by plane just as Bolt does, Air Hollywood K9 Flight School headed by Megan Blake, will “teach dogs and their people to go through airport security, to navigate the chaos of the terminal and to board the plane calmly.” The training program allows any pet that boards a plane with its owner to experience turbulence, tilt, landing and take-off. And with Fourth of July fireworks just a few months away, you could help calm your dog’s anxiety with a Thunder Shirt by Thunderworks. Likened to swaddling a baby, the Thunder Shirt hits the pressure points at times when the pet normally has high anxiety levels.
The Pet Expo was a great showcase of pet products, but the main purpose of the Pet Expo is education. Education like Steven of the Great Dane Club of California wanted to inform to future dog owners. When Steven purchased Kimba at 8 weeks old, he looked fine, but ended up with genetic deformities caused by the breeder’s improper care. He had to decide between euthanasia and surgery. The surgeries cost thousands of dollars and did not completely correct the problem. Although Steven could not imagine life without Kimba, he advises if getting any dog, especially a giant breed, “to research the breeder very thoroughly.” Breeders should be reputable and conduct health tests on their puppies before being sent to their new homes.
The High Desert’s very own Forever Wild Sanctuary was at the Pet Expo with an alligator and a black leopard to educate the public about exotic pets. With roughly 200 animals including big cats, parrots, alligators, marmosets, and kinkajous, Joel and Chemaine Almquist have managed to rescue and rehabilitate these creatures, placing some of them in loving homes or keeping them in the sanctuary as their forever homes. They are always in need of donations for upkeep and maintenance of the sanctuary. If interested, please contact Forever Wild Sanctuary at 760-868-2755.
The Pet Expo had something for everyone. Just to name a few: The International Cat Association (TICA) displayed over 50 different breeds of cat; the Aquatic Experience started off new aquatic enthusiasts with starter kits; the reptile show and sale sponsored by Repticon was an opportunity to get up close and personal to scaly creatures along with hissing cockroaches and millipedes; the Petting Zoo not only had sheep and goats, but included a wallabies, llamas, and fawns.
America’s Family Pet Expo is an experience like no other. If you are an animal-lover, a pet owner, or a species-enthusiast, you’ll appreciate everything the Pet Expo has. For more information, visit: petexpooc.org.