The talented rabbits and Guinea pigs among the star attractions at this weekend’s Long Island Pet Expo may give you a case of the warm fuzzies, but they’re not just pretty, furry faces: They’re also trained athletes.
One of the expo’s main events features Netherland Dwarf Jengos, Kinetic English Spots, Holland Lops and other bunny breeds trained by Alikatt Rabbit Hopping of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The rabbits’ powerful hind legs help them leap over miniature fences on a 45-foot-long hunter-jumper course, a sight that may surprise onlookers.
“There are things a rabbit can do that people don’t think they can do,” says Tammy Steele of Alikatt. Steele’s bunnies also will be hopping to it over A-frame, teeter-totter and tunnel obstacles on a competition-style agility course, with help from audience members selected to hold the leashes as the rabbits run. “We pick people who are wearing sneakers,” Steele hints. She’ll also train any pet rabbit brought from home to do agility tricks.
Alikatt also is introducing a new animal attraction: Ruby, a 5-month-old Abyssinian Guinea pig, bowls on a miniature wooden lane with pint-size bowling pins. Like the rabbits, Ruby also will tackle a miniature agility course.
AT THE SHOW
Rodents aren’t the only members of the animal kingdom represented in the eighth year of the pet extravaganza organized by Family Pet Shows of Huntington. Because attendees can bring pets from home, the nonhuman crowd tends to get pretty diverse.
“One of the trends we have been seeing is people bringing other kinds of pets with them to the expo, besides dogs and cats — potbellied pigs, parrots, ferrets, rabbits and Guinea pigs,” says Karen Garetano, entertainment and program coordinator.
Family pets are welcome on the expo floor as long as they are leashed, well behaved and have up-to-date vaccinations, Garetano says.
SHOPPING AND ENTERTAINMENT
At more than 100 booths, pet parents can shop for new products and get care and handling tips from veterinarians and groomers. Animal rescue organizations and the Long Island Parrot Society will be on hand to discuss pet adoptions. Animal owners can register for two hours of instruction in how to administer Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and first aid to a stricken pet.
Creatures great and small will shine in a variety of other entertainment. If you love dogs, you can thrill at the marching purebreds in the Parade of Breeds, the head-to-head racing in the Long Island Dachshund Derby and the canine choreography of Diana Frohman’s dancing golden retrievers.
Frohman’s show introduces the newest family member, 9-month-old Gabby. The dogs perform “canine freestyle,” which Frohman describes as “a combination of tricks and obedience choreographed to music picked especially for the dog.”
For feline fans, Nesconset-based Coastal City Cat Club’s championship cat show gives 125 felines a chance to preen in a Westminster-style breed conformation competition.
“Exhibitors will be showing off breeds and taking them up to the judges for a determination of how they conform to the breed standards,” says Christine Lupo, show manager.
The expo will include exotic reptiles, including alligators, snakes, lizards and turtles, as well as reptile and wildlife experts. Maximum K9 Service of Deer Park will present a Schutzhund demonstrations of obedience, dumbbell retrieval and tracking people. Doggie U K9 Academy of Bay Shore will offer dog agility demonstrations all weekend in the expo’s main show ring.
Can’t wait for the butterflies of spring? A new exhibit features 300 fluttery specimens — including monarchs and painted ladies — from Wish Upon a Butterfly breeding farm in New Castle, Pennsylvania.
Long Island Pet Expo
WHEN | WHERE 4-9 p.m. Friday, March 10; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, March 11; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, March 12, at Suffolk County Community College, 1001 Crooked Hill Rd., Brentwood
INFO 631-423-0620, longislandpetexpo.com
ADMISSION $12 ($5 ages 4-12 but free on Friday) or $18 weekend pass (online advance purchase only)