Meadville Tribune

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August 17, 2013

Paws for the cause at the fair

WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP — Instead of running through a tunnel on the dog agility course set up at the Crawford County Fairgrounds by the 4 Paws 4-H Club, Cowboy decided to go around it.

Handler Wes Kokoszka dove trying to grab the leash on Cowboy, an uncooperative toy fox terrier, but Kokoszka ended up with no leash and received two dirty knees and some laughs from the crowd as Cowboy quickly jumped a fence and scampered back to the club’s tent.

“I’m used to it,” Kokoszka, 13, said with a smile about his getting dirty. “I play baseball and dive for balls a lot.

Kokoszka was one about a half-dozen kids and dogs from 4 Paws 4-H putting on agility demonstrations at the fairgrounds Saturday.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Kokoszka said of why he’s a member of 4 Paws and has been since the club started five years ago. “You make a lot of friends and have fun with the dogs.”

Robin Crum, the adult leader of 4 Paws 4-H, said the club welcomes all kids and all breeds of dogs. There are about a dozen kids in the club now and the 4-H program will begin for the 2013-14 year in September.

“We’ve got purebreds and mixes,” she said of the club. “The kids learn obedience training with the dogs.”

The club will do obedience demonstrations at its area located between Gates 1 and 2 Monday through Thursday at 2 p.m. each day and a dress-up parade at 2 p.m. Friday.

“He loves dogs,” Kara Albrecht said, pointing to her son, Spencer, 4, who was wide-eyed watching the dogs go through the course.

The Albrechts were on hand to watch the demonstrations before taking in the rest of the fair on Saturday.

“I like it when they jump,” Spencer said of the dogs. “When the one jumped the fence it was funny.”

But getting a dog to be well-behaved and obey commands like sitting takes practice, according to one club member.

“I work with her a couple of days a week for a couple of hours each time,” Sydney Blood, 13, of Linesville, said of her dog Libby, a 1-year-old Labrador retriever. “She likes running through the tunnel (on the agility course) the best.”

The demonstrations at the fairgrounds gives both the kids and dogs in the club a chance to shine, according to Crum.

“We want both the kids and the dogs to have fun with it,” she said.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

4 Paws 4-H Club will hold dog and handler demonstrations at the club’s tent area between Gates 1 and 2 at the Crawford County Fairgrounds today at 1 p.m.; and at 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday each day. Friday at 2 p.m. will be a dress-up parade.

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