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From trick-or-treating to a pet parade, tails will have lots of reasons to wag this Saturday at the 3rd Annual Fall Pawtacular at the Shikellamy State Park marina.

And human visitors will have lots of reasons to smile. Not only will the event be alive with fun doggie activities, but humans can enjoy something from one of the 10 food trucks on site, as well as numerous vendors, including crafts, public service, and several area animal rescues.

In addition, Heath’s Gym Dance Crew will be performing at 1 p.m.

And it’s all to benefit a good cause.

Melissa Rea and Jennifer Confer began Laughing Dogz Photography, of Milton, in 2013.

“While we are general photographers,” Rea said, “our true love is taking photos of families and their pets. In our interactions with these families, we met many people from wonderful rescues in our community. It didn’t take long for us to realize there was a real need for funds and started to brainstorm how we could help.”

So Pawtacular was born.

They chose to hold the event at the state park, Rea said, “due to its beautiful surroundings – the water, the trees, and easily accessible sidewalks and parking areas.”

She also said that the DCNR staff has been extremely helpful and kind each year.

Each year, all of the proceeds go to a charity that Rea and Confer choose. They themselves pay the operating costs to host the event. This year, the proceeds will go to The National Canine Cancer Foundation, which she said is “dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem in dogs…”

For the first two years, the proceeds benefitted SUN P.E.T.S.

According to Deena Eberhart, marketing coordinator for SUN P.E.T.S., Pawtacular donated $2,245 in 2017, and $2047 in 2018.

“It was a beautiful surprise,” she said. “As an organization, we are very appreciative of the support we receive from local businesses like Laughing Dogz Photography. The fact that they generously gave their time to raise funds for our spay/neuter programs was so heartwarming. By helping us they helped those in the community that could not afford to spay or neuter their pet.”

Denise Lewis, former SUN P.E.T.S. president and now social media director of Arthur’s Pet Pantry, of Milton, said these organizations “rely on fundraisers to bring in needed funds to cover the costs of spaying, neutering and pet food for lower income individuals and families in Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties. Without this continued support, it would be difficult to continue on with their missions.”

“Together we are stronger,” Eberhart echoed. “Animals organizations cannot do this alone. There are not enough people, funds or time within each organization. We need the community’s support and help to make this a better place for all animals. This event is key to making that happen.”

Saturday will certainly be a good place for the animals attending Saturday’s Pawtacular. Rea said a dog/cat Trick or Treat is unique to their event.

“Many of our vendors participate, and it’s so much fun to see the pets dressed up in their Halloween finest,” Rea said, “going from vendor to vendor for tasty treats.”

A pet parade will be held at 2 p.m., for visitors to show off their pets in costume.

Rea said the event continues to grow each year.

“There really is something for everyone,” she said, adding, “What better way to spend a Saturday strolling through a beautiful park, tasty food in hand, while contributing to a worthwhile cause?”

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