After a hiatus in 2020, Paw Prints on the Canal made its much-anticipated return to Canal Park on June 13. Hundreds of dogs and their humans packed the park to browse vendors, meet fellow rescues, and strut their stuff in the Sharp Dressed Pet Contest.
The popular event has grown tremendously over the past 12 years. It started with only 35 vendors, but has since increased to over 170. Attendees came from across the Lehigh Valley and the East Coast, with some coming from as far south as South Carolina.
“It was good to be back!” said Candi Lynn, organizer of the event. She praised her fellow volunteers, dubbed Team Paw Prints, for their dedication and commitment to ensuring everyone had a good time. She also thanked the fire police, fire department, and police department for their help.
As always, the stars of the event were the many rescue animals who were given second chances thanks to local shelters and volunteers.
“A lot of animals lose their home through no fault of their own,” said Lynn, a supporter of adoption and puppy foster mom herself. “Some may not realize there are many [animals] out there waiting for a home.”
French Bulldog Rescue, Peaceable Kingdom, Forgotten Felines, the Sanctuary at Haafsville, Pibbles Paws, Red Rock Rescue, One by One Cat Rescue, SOS Beagle Rescue, and Char Wills German Shepherd Rescue, among many others, were in attendance to raise awareness and encourage visitors to adopt, not shop. Some lucky rescue animals even found their forever homes during the event.
Crafters and other vendors also set up shop, selling handmade gifts for pets and pet owners alike. Custom leashes, dog tags, and natural treats kept tails wagging, while homemade baked goods, jewelry, soaps, and candles gave pet parents the chance to treat themselves.
Animal hospitals, therapy animal organizations, groomers, and trainers were also there sharing tips and tricks for keeping pets healthy, clean, and well-behaved.
“It honestly, truly exceeded my expectations,” Lynn said. She added that she wasn’t expecting a turnout as large as previous years due to the pandemic, but the crowd was just as big, if not bigger, than years past. Families and their four-legged friends alike were simply excited to get out of the house in a safe, outdoor space.
In addition to the popular Sharp Dressed Pet Contest, there was a rescue animal parade, live music and karaoke (a first for the event), and K-9 demos from Northampton Boro’s K-9 unit, as well as an all-day microchipping and rabies vaccine clinic. About 100 raffle prizes were awarded, along with gift certificates.
The 2021 event was sponsored by Northampton Borough. Profits benefit the Northampton Boro K-9 unit. The total amount raised will be presented before the borough council sometime in July. And Team Paw Prints is already planning for next year. Lynn says they will be meeting in the fall to discuss future events.
Says Lynn, “It is just amazing how it has grown!”