Community dog jamboree on calendar for fall

Sean C. Morgan

Most of the details are finalized for this fall’s Cascade K9 Jamboree, and now organizers Connie DeBusschere and Sasha McDonald are seeking vendors and volunteers.

DeBusschere is a clerk at Sweet Home Municipal Court who also trains dogs (see accompanying story). McDonald is a police officer. Earlier this year, McDonald was joined on patrol by Gemma, a drug detection dog.

The Cascade K9 Jamboree is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 22 at the Sweet Home Events Center, 4001 Long St.

The event is intended to serve three purposes: community education, support for the department’s canine program, and fun.

“It’s something the chief (Jeff Lynn) and I actually talked about,” DeBusschere said, in relation to the Police Department’s dog kennel and the ordinance the City Council passed last year to address loose and barking dogs.

When the ordinance came up, DeBusschere and Lynn discussed how a canine jamboree could be an education tool, DeBusschere said.

Then Sweet Home Police Department got Gemma, and they began discussing using the jamboree as a means to support the canine program, which has been supported by donations.

“Ongoing expenses would be my training, continuing training,” McDonald said. She also needs to save money for veterinary and emergency care for 4-year-old Gemma.

McDonald is using a 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe with 105,000 miles donated by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, but it will need to be replaced in a couple of years.

Ideally, McDonald said, she would like to replace it with another Tahoe, so she can simply move the cage from the old vehicle to the new vehicle.

If and when Gemma must be replaced, McDonald estimates that cost at $1,000.

And it’s meant to be a fun family-oriented event.

“It’s something people can bring their pets to,” DeBusschere said. The jamboree will have activities for dogs, children and families and will offer opportunities for improving human-dog relationships.

“It gives people ideas what to do to keep their dogs busy when they’re not home,” DeBusschere said. “If you have a busy dog, they’re going to stay home if they have things to do.”

Dog owners can take steps to keep their dogs occupied instead of running loose or barking for their own entertainment.

The jamboree will feature other educational components, such as bite prevention and safety, where children learn how to properly approach a dog.

It will have some more fun-oriented activities too.

DeBusschere is hoping to put together a kids obstacle course, where “kids get to pretend they’re a dog” on an agility course.

Visitors will be able to learn how to train their dogs to do tricks, DeBusschere said. There will be demonstrations, including drug detection.

Good Citizen testing, a certification by the American Kennel Association, will be available, DeBusschere said. The certification demonstrates that a dog is well-mannered in public, friendly in public, walks well on a leash and enjoys being handled.

The certification is a foundation for therapy dogs, she said. Classes are available for dogs that need additional training to earn the certification.

Several contests are planned. They include dog-owner look-alike, fastest tail wag, biggest and smallest dog, best trick and canine training adventures.

Police Officer Ryan Cummings, an accomplished camera man, will serve as event photographer and will offer portraits of visiting dogs.

The public also will have the chance to “dunk a cop.”

Dogs will be invited to leave a paw print on quilt squares for a new quilt that will hang in the Police Department showing support for the community canine program.

The event is open to families with or without dogs. Admission is $10. Children 5 and younger are free. Lunch may be included for $5, and dry camping spaces are $10.

Dogs are welcome as long as they get along with other dogs and people. Puppies should be at least 5 months old, DeBusschere said. If they aren’t, the event won’t be much fun for the dog or the owner.

Dogs should be on 6-foot leashes, DeBusschere said, and “flexy-leads,” retractable leashes, are not allowed.

Much of the planning is complete, DeBusschere said, but “we would like to have some more vendors.”

Vendors do not need to be dog-related, she said. Organizers are suggesting a $20 donation for booth space. The proceeds go directly to the Police Department’s canine program.

The event also needs volunteers to assist with setting up and tearing down the event site and to help run activities, like “K9 brain games.”

“Donations are always welcome for our silent auction,” McDonald said.

For more information, contact McDonald or DeBusschere at (541) 367-5181 or (541) 367-4660 or email [email protected] or [email protected].