WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | Crystal Anderson-Flanigan watched as her son, Andrew, 19 months, gently stroked a cat who was up for adoption by the Porter County Animal Shelter.
“Sorry, buddy, we've got five dogs,” she said.
The Hebron residents were among hundreds of pet lovers attending the Be Kind to Animals Celebration at the Porter County Expo Center on Saturday.
“Unfortunately we can't adopt any more, but we wanted to support the shelter,” said Anderson-Flanigan, who bought toys for her dogs.
The 16th annual event, which raises money for the shelter, featured pet care products and services, animal trainers, and dog and cat adoptions through local rescue organizations.
Many people brought their own dogs, who sniffed through aisles of vendors hawking treats and other pet-related goodies.
Shelter Director Jon Thomas said the shelter netted $900 last year, and the event attracted a record 57 vendors this year.
“This is a day that's all about the animals,” he said.
LaPorte residents Lauren Carter and her mother, Farel Krueger, took turns petting Zoe, a border collie/Rottweiler mix who was up for adoption through the Second Chance 4 Pets Network.
“My mom walks by herself so she wants a dog who will protect her,” Carter said.
Jayme Schymanoske, who fosters dogs and cats with Second Chance, said Zoe loves to play ball and Frisbee, and she and all the other Second Chance animals have been dewormed, vaccinated, spayed or neutered and microchipped.
Carter also got information at the event about the Pets N Vets program of the Dunes Dog Training Club. Her husband, Andrew, served in Iraq, she said.
Club member Jan Koutelas said the organization will train veterans' dogs at no cost and also will match veterans with rescue and shelter dogs.
The program gives dogs a chance to live and serve by helping to heal the wounds of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“My dad was a veteran and he loved dogs,” Koutelas said. “I'm giving back for my dad.”
For more information about the Porter County Animal Shelter, visit portercoanimalshelter.com or call (219) 465-3550.