Dogs, owners play in park at Petapalooza

SUWANEE - Despite gray skies and occasional rain showers, dogs of all shapes and sizes were out with their owners for Petapalooza at Suwanee Town Center Park on Saturday.

One of the largest dogs, a 227 pound English mastiff named Maddox, was happy to let children much smaller than him stroke the light brown fur on his massive head. Maddox's owner, Buford resident Scott Firestine, was looking for a pet sitter for an upcoming trip he's taking.

Dubbed the annual "pet party on the park," this year's Petapalooza featured nonprofit and pet rescue organizations, vendors, pet adoptions, dog agility, frisbee and flyball demonstrations and music performances.

Representing dogs of a much smaller size, five chihuahuas were riding in style around Town Center Park in a mesh-enclosed stroller pushed by their owner, Turra Atkinson. Xena, Onyx, Tyson, Casper and Mr. Sprinkles were all rescues adopted from Small Dog Rescue of Alpharetta.

The chihuahuas weren't the only pampered pooches out and about. Teri Sims tried to keep three pugs cool, creating a light breeze with a fan supplied by the radio station Star 94, which sponsored the event. Tiny Tim and Bennett, who were both looking for a good home Saturday, along with Sims' pug, Abby, greeted event-goers at the tent for the Southeast Pug Rescue and Adoption.

Hansel, a long-haired dachshund, kept his feet dry as one of his owners, 11-year-old Caroline Wigmore of Suwanee, carried him around inside a pink bag. Elizabeth Wigmore, 7, pushed Hansel's sister, Gretel, in a stroller.

"Hansel might win the cutest puppy award," Caroline said proudly, petting his head. "He's my baby."