2005 St. Jude Showcase of Dogs

Showcase of Dogs

St. Jude patients, from left: Micah, Latrell, Tyler and Louis,
with dog Fancy

Louis Hentz wasn’t feeling very well this time last year. His counts were dropping and, consequently, he was receiving fluids. His mom, Kerin, debated canceling the photo shoot scheduled for later that day. Louis was going to have his picture taken with several dogs and their owners to help raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Kerin checked with Louis’ doctor, who gave a conditional OK. “Since he was the youngest, we weren’t sure how he would respond,” she said. His response, it turns out, was to race up to the dogs, dragging his mother behind him as she held his hand. The photo shoot was a success. Louis laughed and played, and the smile never left his face as he became better acquainted with his new canine friends.

This October 14, the canines return for the 2005 St. Jude Showcase of Dogs, an annual competition and family event benefiting the hospital. Hundreds of dog lovers from across the country and Canada come to Memphis for the St. Jude Showcase of Dogs. The three-day canine extravaganza features an all-breed dog show, flyball tournament, agility and obedience competitions, as well as demonstrations highlighting the work of therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs and canine narcotic officers. Spectators may also visit the numerous booths and exhibits featuring pet products and collectibles.

Since its inception in 1995, Showcase has welcomed about 150,000 attendees from around the country and, more importantly, has raised more than $200,000 for St. Jude. This year’s event takes place at the Agricenter International, and is sponsored by Hollywood Pet Star, the Greater Shelby Kennel Club and Tupelo Kennel Club. Tickets will be sold in advance at Memphis-area Hollywood Pet Star locations.

“We are very happy to again have the Showcase of Dogs benefit St. Jude,” said David L. McKee, Chief Operating Officer for ALSAC, the fund-raising arm of St. Jude. “It is a fun, entertaining event where dog owners can show off their ‘best friends’ and help children facing life-threatening illnesses.”

The happiness patients feel when petting or playing with dogs is not something that has been overlooked at St. Jude. On Tuesdays, numerous volunteers bring their specially-trained dogs to the hospital where the children, with doctors’ permission, can visit and play with them in the atrium of the Danny Thomas Research Center. There, patients – many of whom have had to leave their pets behind – delight in the love and attention of the puppies.

“Having pets around can give a patient a positive attitude, which helps motivate them to get better,” said Hallie Bloom, director of Child Life programs at St. Jude. Bloom said that a number of independent studies have shown that animals provide an immediate calming effect, helping to reduce blood pressure and heart rates. The dogs’ visits even have a positive effect on the St. Jude staff, she said.


October 2005

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