June 5, 2002 – With the approach of the island's second annual Wagapalooza dog show on June 16, members of the Animal Care Center of St. John have been gearing up to make sure every animal on the island gets good treatment through its Kindness and Caring program.
"I tend to see animals as part of the family. We need to show them kindness," said Dr. Laura Palminteri, the veterinarian owner of Cruz Bay Canines, Cats and Critters. She and another Animal Care Center member have been on the road for the last two weeks visiting St. John's schools to make sure students know how to care for animals and how to show them kindness.
"My part is talking about how to recognize whether animals are healthy or sick," Palminteri said. One of the other things the students learn is how to approach strange animals safely, a useful skill given that there will be dozens of dogs at the Wagapalooza.
As part of the Kindness and Caring program, students at the St. John schools were encouraged to write an essay or design a poster depicting kindness to animals. Each participating school was assured of a prize of at least $1,000 to be used toward educational materials or equipment, with the actual winners to get a T-shirt and the glory of knowing they did a good job.
Joe Palminteri, who is helping to organize the Wagapalooza dog show, said they expect to raise $25,000 for the Animal Care Center this year. Last year, the show brought in $20,000.
The Wagapalooza dog show will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. June 16 behind Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant in Coral Bay. The entrance fee for dogs and their owners is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. There is no charge for children and their dogs to enter. "We're trying to get as many kids involved as possible," Joe Palminteri said.
For spectators, there is no admission charge to view the show.
According to Joe Palminteri, the four categories of competition are Best Dog Trick, Best Coconut Canine (a category for dogs that can't do much but look cute), Best Costume for Handler and Dog, and Best Kids and Canine. Commemorative T-shirts will be on sale, as will tickets for the Wagapalooza raffle, with prizes including airplane tickets and hotel stays.
And in case you were wondering, yes, the Animal Care Center will have a pooper patrol to clean up. However, Joe Palminteri said that the dog owners are generally well trained and clean up after their own critters.
For more information, call Cruz Bay Canines, Cats and Critters at 693-7780.

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