The 14th Annual Wag-A-Thon, a fundraising event attracting the usual suspects for the usual reason: area canines and their owners for a fun-filled morning of sniffing and queuing.

This year’s fundraiser was held on Saturday, April 28, at Dana Point Harbor. Though dogs were the subject of the event, the sponsored jamboree supports all animals at the San Clemente – Dana Point Animal Shelter.

Dogs and their owners from various Orange County real estate spots participated in contests, snacked on “safe” doggie bones from various booths, and shopped the bazaar for canine items such as colorful bandanas, rhinestone collars, and doggie photography and chef services.

The dogs arrived by car and on foot, some in baby carriages, dragging their people to the general information table where free bandanas and goodie bags awaited them. Wristbands were clasped onto their owners for a change so doggie parents could retrieve sundry goodies, including a playful stuffed animal, for their pooch and themselves.

There were pet contests, a 4K walk around the harbor to raise money for the shelter, and a great turnout of neighborhood and near neighboring dogs.

There was Elvis, a 12-month-old Shihtzu show dog from San Clemente, a Blue Brindle Pit Bull named Haina from San Juan Capistrano, Rudy, an English Bulldog who lives in Mission Viejo, and Ziggy from Aliso Viejo. These waggers were waiting for results of a pet costume contest.

Then there was San Clemente hound Paco, who was rescued by his owners on a Mexican Beach. They spotted Paco drinking salt water and eating sea weed. “We were talking about adlopting a dog and he found us,” Paco’s owner relayed.

A family of Danes sat on a grassy hill overlooking the jetty. And Roxy, an adorable Beagle from Dana Point showed off her muscles, while Koko, an Alaskan Husky who lives in Monarch Beach, made her way through the canine crowd, munching on free snacks, looking for her friends from Mission Viejo, Bailey (a black and white Great Dane) and Kali, a mixed breed her owners call Dingo.

Sweet Sara, a hairy pooch rescued from the Huntington Beach Shelter back in 1999, was visiting from Sante Fe, New Mexico. Wonder if she got the award for coming the farthest.

Then there were the trio of Pomeranians: Honey Love, Sable Love and Sailor Sky, who were strolled into the event, all in costume. The fiery red dogs live in Lake Forest but their owner brings them for a stroll around beautiful Dana Point Harbor four times a week.

Perhaps the most exotic dogs present hail from a breed bred in Rome: Spinone Italiano. The two tall pooches with bronze-colored noses sniffed their way through vendor booths setup in the parking lot east of the Dana Point Yacht Club.

But what stood out in this canine crowd was the excellent behavior of so many dogs in so many queues. A string of dogs stood side by side and next to their owners at the entrance to Wag-A-Thon. Some dogs were sniffing other dogs, but none were barking or shoving in line or acting otherwise wily.

Pooches were leashed and strolling the promenade, sniffing each other as their masters navigated from one booth to another. Dog owners snapped up literature and frisbees while their doggies nibbled at assuredly “safe” dog bones and other goodies.

The event was sponsored in part by Ralphs and Pet Project Foundation (PPF), a merge of Animal Rescue Foundation of Dana Point and Friends of San Clemente, sponsors of the event. The PPF misson is to improve the quality of life of all companion pets through fundraisers such as Wag-A-Thon. At this year’s Wag, PPF brought in a movie star: Coal, who starred as in the movie “The Shaggy Dog,” was on hand to pose for photos with the visiting pets through Birds and Animals Unlimited. PPF uses donations to feed dogs, cats, bunnies and birds who live at area shelters while waiting for new homes.

At this fair you could adopt a pet, sponsor a pet, groom a pet, or donate part of your salary to an otherwise good cause.
If you missed this year’s Wag-A-Thon, it’s not too late to donate through PPF. For more information, log on: or visit your local animal shelter and adopt a pet or sponsor someone else to give a home to a dog, cat, bunny or bird.