Gilda’s Club LaughFest wrapped up Sunday with a People & Pets event at Grand Rapids Community College’s Ford Fieldhouse.
The event welcomed over 20 vendors and more than 100 pets. People & Pets began with a parade where the pets in attendance, mostly dogs, were able to show off their human companions by walking through the fieldhouse.
Emcee Shelley Irwin, WGVU radio and TV host, welcomed those at the event and got the pups pumped for the contests that followed. Winners of the contests received a plaque and bragging rights of winning Best Pet Costume, Best Pet Trick, Best Pet Look-a-Like and Most Unique Pet.
In the winners circle for best costume were Zoey and Tucki, both Shih tzus, who were dressed as Minions characters. Joining Zoey and Tucki was Cooper, a retriever mix with a love for hula hooping. Best Pet Look-a-Like went to Waldo, a poodle who dressed as his owner in a green tutu. Lastly, in a league of his own, and winner of Most Unique Pet, was Spirit, a Chinese Crested with white hair and a stylish sweater that set him apart from the other pups.
The crowd was also treated to free hot dogs from Yesterdog who donated 300 hot dogs to People & Pets.
Among the vendors in attendance was Luvnpupz, a non-profit home-based foster rescue. Jessica VanderPloeg, a foster mom and volunteer for Luvnpupz shared what they do for dogs in need of forever homes.
“We take in the ones who need the most work,” she said. “And we turn them into happy babies.”
Also in attendance was Dr. Laurie Brush of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice, whose main goal was to spread the word to pet owners about pet hospice.
“The reason we come to events like this is because many people still don’t know that pet hospice exists,” she said. “So we want to get the word out that pet hospice is an option.”
Other vendors in attendance were A Pleasant Dog which offers dog training, Family Friends Veterinary Hospital, Residence Inn Marriott (one of Grand Rapids’ few pet-friendly hotels), Big Bonz, which caters to large-breed dogs, and many more.
Owners and pets also had a chance to take a picture at the photobooth which featured props and a yellow LaughFest backdrop. Photos were uploaded to LaughFest’s Facebook page.