Pet expo

Locally made treats, unopened pet accessories and the collective musk of dozens of animals brought a pet shop smell to Stephens Lake Park during the 5th Annual Columbia Pet Expo on Saturday. Collars, leashes, carriers and strollers escorted dogs and cats from all over Columbia to the event, where food trucks, pop music, games and free goodies entertained pets and owners alike.

Organized by all-natural pet treat company Treats Unleashed Columbia, the event brought together local vendors to benefit No Kill Columbia, an organization dedicated to promoting no-kill business models for local animal shelters. No Kill’s main focus is spaying and neutering pets in order to prevent the offspring of Columbia’s pets from ending up in shelters.

“It seemed like there was more people helping to clean up the mess and not enough shutting off the faucet,” said Melissa Krown, a No Kill Columbia board member.

This is the fifth year No Kill and Treats Unleashed have partnered for the pet expo. All proceeds from the expo went to No Kill Columbia.

But whether people came to the expo to support No Kill or just to get some free pet snacks, they came because of their pets. Treats Unleashed manager Tawny Baker put it best: “There’s a lot of other events that are dog-friendly, but here your dog’s the star.”

And like reporters at a red carpet event, we spoke to some of these stars and their owners to get an idea of what brought them to the expo.

Anne Houchin and dogs

Anne Houchin and her two dogs rest in the shade during the Fifth Annual Columbia Pet Expo. Houchin says she and her dogs came to the event to socialize with other pets and pet owners and to support Treats Unleashed. “Oh, yes, they do like this event,” Houchin said. “If there’s treats involved, they like it a lot.”

Casey Fangmann and dog

Casey Fangmann and his dog Princess take a break from browsing the vendor booths at the Fifth Annual Columbia Pet Expo. Fangmann said Princess loved trying out the homemade treats and saying hi to all the cats. “Maybe not so much the dogs,” Fangmann says. “She thinks she should be the only one here — all the treats are for her.”

Clark

Braden Posey’s dog Clark lets his tongue hang out during the Fifth Annual Columbia Pet Expo. Posey owns Clark with his business partner. During the event, Posey represented Supplement Superstores. He said many of the supplements that humans buy are also marketed to dogs at higher prices. “A lot of times, the human version is the same thing," Posey says. "But it’s cheaper because there’s no artificial markup."

Jacob and Amanda Brummet

Jacob and Amanda Brummet run a booth for their pet boarding and daycare facility, Creekside Pet Center, at the Fifth Annual Columbia Pet Expo. Jacob Brummet said the pet expo is a good way for him to give back to the community and to increase awareness of his business. “It’s a fun event,” Brummet said. “You can bring your dog out, the weather’s good, and it’s set up well and done right.”

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