Bastardino sounds like a rude name one Italian might call another, but its actually a term for a mixed-heritage dog (aka mutt). Theres even a Festival of the Bastardino in Italy a celebration of mutts, if you will. Our organization rescues dogs from shelters to train them as service dogs, so we very rarely get a purebred dog through our doors, explains Colette Palmer, director of development for Freedom Service Dogs. Were very drawn to the mutt world and very endeared to the mutts, and weve found that our success rate is actually higher than organizations that do puppy raising specifically for service dogs. And theyre saving a dogs life in the process. Clearly, Freedom Service Dogs loves its mixed-heritage pooches; thats why the organization is hosting the inaugural Festival of the Bastardino today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Englewoods Centennial Park, 4630 South Decatur Street.
Stop by to catch an array of demonstrations from service animals for people with disabilities to police and rescue dogs plus vendors selling everything from homemade dog biscuits and animal portraits to dog washes and Italian food. The first 100 pooches to stop by can get a free microchip from Freedom Service Dogs vet, who will be on hand with her mobile hospital. There will be events for the dogs, too, of course, including races and more. The Festival of the Bastardino is free; visit www.freedomservicedogs.org or call 303-922-6231.
Sat., Sept. 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 2008