Families, pet owners and, of course, animals all gathered at Suffolk Community College for the 2015 Long Island Pet Expo last month. The event began nearly 20 years ago as a horse show and was the brainchild of Long Island couple Karen and Dennie Garetano. Dozens of other pets have since been included and they now run seven pet expos throughout the year, two of which are right here on the island. The Long Island Pet Expo floor is a combination of vendors, animal adoption agencies, and pet exhibitions and shows ranging from cat agility to rainforest reptiles.
The Long Island Parrot Society was on hand and a few members even brought their birds along. The organization meets once a month in Babylon Village and provides information and services for current parrot owners. Additionally, they work to re-home parrots as their lifespan can be as long as 80 years. At their March meeting, the speaker will be traveling all the way from the Caribbean just speak to the club about conservation efforts for parrots. When we visited, club member Robert Gross was manning the table along with his pet cockatoo Romeo, who has a penchant for the ladies and entertained many passersby with his dice tricks.
For our furrier friends, vendors were selling everything from leashes to specialty foods. Moon Daisy’s, an all natural dog treat company owned by friends Kim Messina and Christina Casali-Barry, made their debut at the pet expo. The two developed the line after searching for the perfect treats for their dogs and coming up empty. “We wanted a product we could trust and realized we would have to make it ourselves,” says Messina. So, that’s exactly what they did. All of Moon Daisy’s products are suitable for human consumption and only have two ingredients: meat and rosemary. They are made and sourced in the United States, with the exception of their New Zealand venison, and the pair hopes to branch out into everyday dog food soon.
Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons was just one of many animal rescue organizations represented, and they came complete with their adoption bus. Any of the 20 dogs they brought to the expo could be adopted the same day, provided the prospective new owner met their requirements. Though ARF has a steady home in Wainscott, about half of their adoptions come right from their bus which travels as far as Pennsylvania for pet expos. “People that come to this expo are animal people,” says Diana Mancher of ARF, adding that on a good weekend they can find 25-30 animals new homes. If you are looking to add a new member to your family, consider adoption from ARF or one of the many Long Island based shelters.
If you missed the pet expo this year, fear not, the Long Island Pet Expo in the Park will be held at Tanner Park in Copiague on September 19-20. It’s held in conjunction with the Long Island Family Festival and best of all admission is free. There will be a petting zoo, live animal shows and even a “dog wash” where all proceeds go to the Babylon Animal Adoption & Rescue Center. Well behaved, leashed animals are welcome so be sure to clear your pets’ calendar.
Photo: Alicia Valeo & Kevin Breslawski