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From grooming to training — pet care is reason for competition

| Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011

Taking care of your pet is not only important, but to a group of 4-H members, it is a competition at the Westmoreland Fair.

The 4-H Pet Care Show competition allows 4-H members from ages 5 through 18 to demonstrate how they take care of their pets — from grooming to training. This year, the competition proved to be more popular than in previous years at the fairgrounds near Greensburg.

"We have 20 entered, which is the most that we ever had," event superintendent Shari Wright said. "This year, the members of the Cloverleafs are taking part in the competition, and we are excited about that."

The Cloverleafs are 4-H members, ages 5 through 7, who cannot show livestock, but can participate in the pet care show.

"This gives the Cloverleafs an avenue to show their animals at a young age," Wright said. "It's a good opportunity for them."

Any type of pet can be entered into the competition. Wright said that they always get a nice variety.

"We get chickens and goats, dogs and cats, and just about everything," Wright said.

The constants must present their animals to the judges, where they then explain how they care for the pet.

All entrants must also complete a poster and a book that details the care, telling in story form how they tend to their animals.

Entrants may also tell about the breed of animal itself, explaining in as much detail as they like.

"They aren't timed on this," Wright said. "They can take as long as they like."

All animals are checked upon registration. Dogs and cats must show proof of rabies vaccinations.

"I make sure that every animal is checked," veterinarian Dr. Mellissa Voll-Stouffer said. "It's a law that every animal be checked that comes onto the fairgrounds."

First-time participant Kyrstin Keller, 6, of Stahlstown brought her new 4-month-old pet goat Angel.

"I feed him every day, and I water him every day, and I play with him a lot," Keller said.

Jonathan Brown, 9, of Tarrs is an old hand at the competition, showing now for the third year.

This year, Brown brought his pet hamster "Goldie."

"I feed him and I keep his cage clean which I do every week," Brown said.

Ribbons were awarded to all winners who showed they were conscientious of what it takes to care for their pets.

"This is a really nice event," Wright said. "I'm really excited for the little ones and the fact that they can do this and get the feel for it."

The Westmoreland Fair continues through Saturday with more fun, food, entertainment and competitions. Visit westmorelandfair.com for details.

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