Education in the Park

Crowds and vendors flocked to Tanner Park in Copiague last weekend to enjoy the Long Island Pet Expo in the park.


The long island pet expo is a family oriented event that features educational demonstrations, hand-on-petting opportunities, special attraction and pet adoptions. But, according to vendors, the main reason behind the pet expo is to educate and encourage responsible pet ownership.


Doggie U K9 Academy is a state of the art Canine Training Facility located in Bay Shore NY that has attended the pet expo for eight years in hopes of educating and entertaining visitors and pet owners.


“Our whole focus is teaching you how to connect with your dog,” Ginny Anziani, instructor and co-owner of Doggie U K9 Academy, said. “You build a better relationship with your dog and they learn self-confidence and obedience which is the foundation for everything. It teaches them self-discipline and how to control their emotions to become a better thinking dog.”


The expo also featured Diana Frohman and her dancing Golden Retrievers Henry and Eddie. Frohman described freestyle, the sport of dancing with your dog, as “obedience with attitude.”


“Freestyle is an obedience trick choreographed to music taught through verbal commands,” Frohman said. It is a wonderful display of communication and relationship between dog and handler and is open to all breeds of dogs, including mixed breeds.


According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) the percent of households owning dogs in the United States is 36.5 percent or 43,346,000 homes. But they are also one of the most high maintenance pets, requiring a lot of attention and costing owners approximately $80 a month or $960 annually. The pet expo accommodated families unable to commit to dog ownership with an alternative.


“Jungle” Bob Smith educated and entertained crowds of all ages with his interactive nature show featuring some of the world’s more unusual reptilian pets.


“Let’s face it; our generation isn’t leaving the environment in the best shape,” Smith said. “My goal is to ignite a conservation spark in my audiences, particularly the children. Perhaps they will make the difference in saving our planet in the future.”


Smith aims to pair owners with pets that will fit their lifestyle and often finds himself dissuading people from getting certain pets and convincing them to buy a different one, due to their preconceived notions about certain reptiles. Smith said snakes — particularly corn snakes and ball pythons — bearded dragons and tortoises make excellent pets, especially for children.


The pet expo also featured pets that are relatively maintenance free. Adam Rybarczyk educated crowds on Sugar Bears or Sugar Gliders calling them “the perfect pocket pet.”


Sugar Gliders are small marsupials native to the rainforests of Australia and Indonesia and cost approximately $9 a month or $98 a year.


“They bond to you like a dog would,” Rybarczyk said. “You can bring them almost anywhere with you.” They can even recognize their owners scent, voice and appearance, just as a dog would. “The more time you spend with them the stronger your bond will be.”


Many people want pets but don’t understand the amount of time, money and effort they require. The pet expo worked to alleviate the mystery behind buying a pet and educate owners on how to find the right pet for their lifestyle.


“Its fun learning about different animals,” Josh Siegel of Medford said. “Me and Chewie (his dog) had a good time.”

Clancy Dancing dog Hueber kellyBelle snake tunnel


About valeriepolite

Valerie Polite has had a passion for writing since elementary school. She spent most of her early years writing short stories and poetry and spent her first year of college studying English education. It was soon after completing her second semester she discovered her love of journalism and reporting. Now she is a semester away from graduation Suffolk County Community College with her Associates degree and plans to transfer to Stony Brook to pursue her degree even further.

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