Dog Days of summer

Saturday went to the dogs — literally.

Families with dogs and people who just love dogs were at Jerry’s Other Place for the second annual Dog Days by the River. The aim of the event was to raise both money and awareness about dogs needing adoption and the needs of the Mower County Humane Society.

“A lot of people don’t know just how important the humane society is to Austin,” said Julie Johnson, founder and organizer of the event.

Johnson volunteered at a humane society in Iowa so she saw first-hand the need for the humane society’s work. She took that need and founded Dog Days by the River.

It was an event the Mower County Humane Society jumped into whole-heartedly.

“Last year was very successful,” Humane Society Vice-President Jane Roden said. “And we couldn’t have done any better to get one of the best days in two weeks.”

Dogs and their owners were able to take part in a pet parade, costume contest, dunk tank, see an Austin K-9 demonstration, animal trick show and a 4-H dog demonstration.

There was also food and silent auction. All money went to the Humane Society.

The event last year raised a little over $2,000, a mark Johnson was hoping to hit again this year.

“I would be ecstatic if we could just match that,” she said. “My goal is $3,000-4,000, though.”

The Austin Police Officers Association also donated $200.

In just its second year the event has become one of the Humane Society’s more important fund-raisers along with its annual spaghetti dinner and auction, and annual Walk for Animals.

And the need is great. Roden estimates that there are more than 100 cats and 20 dogs at the Humane Society now.

“It’s more than the capacity than we would like,” Roden said.

The vet bill alone hits $3,000 a month and very little money comes from the county so every little bit helps.

Raising money is just part of the event though. The other part is awareness for dogs needing adoption. Dogs who have been abandoned, mistreated, or simply can not be cared for by owners who thought they could.

“It’s good to see people bring family pets so they could see how people treat their own animals,” Roden said.