Paws in the Park

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COLUMBIA - Pet lovers from all over mid-Missouri celebrated Columbia Second Chance Saturday at Stephens Lake Park.

The Columbia-based rescue organization hosted its eighth annual Paws in the Park event. Rescue owners and organization supporters visited educational booths, played with animals up for adoption and shopped for pet-centric supplies.

The day featured a dog fashion show, pet parade, doggie beauty pageant and kitty meet-and-greet.

"This event, more, is less of an adoption event and more of a reunion of 27 years of families that we've created and it's really more of a joyous occassion than anything else," executive director Valerie Chaffin said.

Tracy Green reunited with fellow rescue owners at the event, noting it is always a highlight to see pets getting better homes and lives.

"Second Chance ... called and had a dog that was a puppy-mill rescue and was not being cared for properly, so that's how I have Lil Bit," Green said of her dog of a year and a half.

Green tries to make it out to as many rescue events, saying they are the first stop in educating the community.

"We're just working toward more education- a group of, um, just animal lovers in town, towards, no more puppy mill breeding and just spay and neuter basically," Green said.

The event raised more than $1,000 for the organization's future efforts.