(Featured photo is from the Doxie Derby. Ron Baxley Jr./Augusta Good News)
(Editor’s Note: Coming this week are two stories about some of the work animal-serving organizations in area doing in the CSRA)
AIKEN – Mary Strauss trained her dog Nellie well.
Nellie won the trophy for the Doxie Derby, a race of dachshunds, on April 15 at the Annual Friends of the Animal Shelter Woofstock Festival & Doggie Derby Days at Citizens Park in Aiken.
Strauss, a sophomore and exercise and sports science major at the University of South Carolina Aiken, said she was overjoyed. She also said her little fur-child, fast and well-behaved. Although the pup does have a name spelled the same as the antagonist from Little House on the Prairie, Nellie Oleson, her Nellie wasn’t disagreeable at all, cuddling with her Momma after the race.
Dog races of all kinds were held throughout the day, culminating in the famous Doxie Derby, which featured the fastest wiener dogs in the area.
“This is what started it all — the Doxie Derby. It then also went to small, medium and large dog races through the years,” said Ellie Joos, FOTAS secretary
Not only were there races, but pooches competed in events such as best trick, best kisser and best costume.
Kim McMahon dressed Dylan, 4, as a mail carrier, and he won first place in the costume contest.
Second place went to Mikey, the punk rocking pup of Randall Maples, 14, of Jackson.
A dog named Abby won the kissing contest, and Sasscer Hill’s dog Ruby won second place in the kissing contest. Hill is well-known in equestrian and canine circles and has written mysteries and other books revolving around equestrian culture in the area.
First place for dog tricks went to a pooch named Zoe, who also won the medium-sized dog race.
In the basset hound group, first place went to Monty, and last place went to Maggie. For the separate large dog race, first place went to Remy and second place went to Ruby. Three races of small dog breeds happened with the last race being between the winners of the first two. The overall winners of the small dog race were Zoe with first place and Maxie for second place.
Kid races were held, too, with children racing on their knees or hands to mimic their furry friends. A variety of pet-related business vendors and exhibitors attended.
At the tent-covered grounds, a balloon artist made balloon animals and other creations. The smells of hamburgers, hotdogs, barbecue and fries filled the air from food vendors as did the sounds of animal-themed classics provided by DJ Kenny Ray. Also, a miniature version of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile sat on a table for photo-ops.
“Today is just a huge celebration! We have seen dogs here that we’ve adopted out through the years.,” said Kathy Cagle. “We get to see how healthy and successful the adoptees are. We are hoping to get some more adoptions today.”
AT least three dogs were adopted at the festival grounds 30 minutes before the event was scheduled to end, and some donors sponsored the fees for the adoptions.
“We are so grateful for the community support. Today is a celebration of our pets and a fundraiser,” said Jennifer Miller, President of the Aiken County Animal Shelter.
Ron Baxley Jr. is a correspondent for Augusta Good News. He’s also the author of several books inspired by the Wizard of Oz as well as a graphic novel based on his Corgi, Ziggy.