By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Pets are often thought of as extended members of the family.
And on Sept. 29, the Humane Society of St. Lucie County will help residents celebrate their pets by holding the first Pet Expo.
"It was the brainchild of one of our board of directors, Sandee Allen," said Rita Hart, marketing and outreach coordinator for the St. Lucie Humane Society. "We have been talking about it and planning it since May."
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in front of the Port St. Lucie Civic Center in the Martin Health System Village Square.
What makes this expo unique is that the public is invited to bring their pets to the event. All animals, however, must on leashes when at the event, per a county ordinance.
"We have a lot of really cool vendors signed in," Ms. Hart said. "We will have everything from hand-made dog clothes to personalized collars and purses. There's even a bird owner's club scheduled to have a booth."
There will both pet and craft vendors on hand. Other events include K-9 demonstrations and on-site dog grooming.
There will also be a bounce house, water slide and other children's activities planned for younger members of the family.
No pet? Don't worry. The humane society's mobile pet adoption unit will be there with various animals for adoption, as well as information about the organization's services.
"(The adoption unit) is loaded up with dogs and cats that are adoptable, and can go home the same day," Ms. Hart said.
Also, the three animal control departments from Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie and St. Lucie County will be at the event.
"They will be doing pet licensing," she said.
There will also be low-cost rabies vaccinations from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. by Leonard Fox, a local veterinarian.
Seminars throughout the day by speakers will focus on pet ownership issues. The band Saltwater Cowboys will perform.
"There will be a speaker from Treasure Coast Hospice discussing pet peace of mind," Ms. Hart said.
Another speaker is Dana Juillaret of Tri-County Animal Hospital, who will discuss concerns about aging pets. Other topics include estate planning for pets.
"We've really gotten a nice response," Ms. Hart said. "It's going to be a great time for both the animals and their owners."
The Port St. Lucie Civic Center is located at 9221 S.E. Civic Center Place in Port St. Lucie. Admission and parking is free.
For more information about the Pet Expo, call Ms. Hart at (772) 461-0687, Ext. 234.