Canine Carnival

The Festival of the Bastardino ensures every dog has its day.

 Bastardino sounds like a rude name one Italian might call another, but it’s actually a term for a mixed-heritage dog (aka mutt). There’s 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. “We’re very drawn to the mutt world and very endeared to the mutts, and we’ve found that our success rate is actually higher than organizations that do puppy raising specifically for service dogs.” And they’re saving a dog’s life in the process. Clearly, Freedom Service Dogs loves its mixed-heritage pooches; that’s why the organization is hosting the inaugural Festival of the Bastardino today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Englewood’s 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

 
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