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Calling all paws
Gwinnett Humane Society hosts pet festival

Rhodes Jordan Park will go to the dogs - and cats - this weekend.

Pawfest 2009, hosted by the Gwinnett Humane Society, is expected to bring out local pet parents and their furry companions Saturday for demonstrations, clinics, a silent auction, contests, kids' activities, more than 50 booths and vendors, a parade and more.

For pet owners who might wonder what their canine or feline friends are thinking, Cumming resident Tim Link, an animal communicator, will be on hand to offer insight into pets' minds.

"I'm able to connect with animals at a deep level and understand what their thoughts and feelings are," Link said. "Some people call it (being) a pet whisperer."

Link discovered his talent about five years ago during a workshop on animal communication.

"People would bring in pictures of their animals and would bring in their animals to the event coordinator's home and ask questions they only knew the answers to," Link said. "All the questions that were asked, I was receiving information back and it was totally accurate. It was an amazing experience, but I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do with it."

He began working with his own pets and then moved on to friends' animals.

"The gift continued to grow and the opportunities continued to present themselves," Link said. "I couldn't really ignore it any further."

Link is the author of the newly release book "Wagging Tales," a collection of stories about animals he has worked with to build better relationships with their owners.

Link will offer private consultations with pet owners throughout Saturday's event.

At noon, rain or shine, individuals and teams will take a walk around the park in the 16th annual Paw Parade, which raises money to support GHS programs and services. Gwinnett Braves mascot Chopper will be honorary grand marshal, and registration for the parade will begin at 11 a.m. The registration fee is $25 per team or individual.

"The Pawfest is a great event, great organization, a lot of fun as well," Link said. "I encourage people to come out and have a fun day with their pets."

SideBar: If you go

What: Pawfest 2009

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Rhodes Jordan Park, 100 E. Crogan St., Lawrenceville

Cost: Free

For more information: Visit www.gwinnetthumane.com