Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, turtles and other animals took over the lower level of the Blair County Convention Center Sunday for the second annual Central Pennsylvania Pets Expo.
The event, sponsored by the Altoona Mirror, Metzger Animal Hospital and DeGol Carpet, meant different things to different people.
It was a day of bonding for Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller of Tyrone and his son, Grant, 3.
Mirror photos by J.D. Cavrich
Dr. Fred L. Metzger Jr. of the Metzger Animal Hospital in State College can’t keep his dog, Sophie, away from the Milk Bone treats on his display table Sunday at the Central PA Pets Expo 2012 at the Blair County Convention Center. Sophie could jump up on the table by herself.
"My son is a dog and animal lover. My wife is out of town, so this is guys day out," Miller said. "We came here to see the dog show and all of the pets."
Anberlyn Petrecca, 3, Altoona, got a chance to meet Vilo, the Blair County Drug Task Force K9.
"She likes Vilo. Vilo was her favorite, she wants to see Vilo get the bad guys," said her mother Amanda Petrecca.
Leamarie Zuiker, 4, of Bellwood had a hands-on experience with a Russian tortoise.
"It is as big as a hand but it gets as big as a basketball. Santa Claus will bring her one for Christmas," her father Joel Zuiker said.
Fred Metzger, president of Metzger Animal Hospital, State College, said the opportunity to help sponsor the event was too good to pass up.
"This is awesome. It is a no brainer. We have a lot of clients in this area. We need to get out awareness about our hospital," Metzger said. "We heard they had about 3,900 people last year and that is a lot of people that don't know about us. We are just 40 minutes away and offer special care. We have 24-hour emergency service."
Amy Hanna, Mirror marketing director and show coordinator, said this year's event was much larger than the inaugural pet expo.
"This year we had about 40 participants - vendors, demonstrators and presenters. We doubled the number of rescue groups," Hanna said. "It has doubled in size already and we are trying to figure out what to do next year."
Attendees had the opportunity to see 20 different breeds of dogs from the Altoona Area Kennel Association and wildlife from Centre Wildlife Care with a variety of species that are being rehabilitated. The therapy horse Coke from Dreams Go On was on hand along with Noah and Luke, the HeavenScent Search and Rescue bloodhounds.
A special guest was Patti Lawson, author of "The Dog Diet" with her dog Sadie.
"My entire life changed through one dog. If I get to see one person go home with one dog it is worth everything," Lawson said. "This is the only dog I had, Sadie. She taught me everything there is to know about dogs and life."
Hanna was pleased with the attendance, which she estimated as about the same as last year's 3,900.
"We were thrilled. Our vendors were very happy and we got a lot of good comments from people who really enjoyed the show," Hanna said.
Hanna said the purpose of the event was to provide an entertaining experience for people.
"Our goal is to provide as much education as we can and information to help people to best best take care of their pets," Hanna said. "We are already planning next year's show."
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.