Animal lovers from across Long Island gathered Saturday in Wainscott to celebrate their pets.
From dog owners to cat owners, roughly 100 people and pets came to The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons’ annual “Alumni Reunion and Pet Celebration Day.”
Held every first weekend in May, the event invited the public to the East Hampton-based animal adoption center’s headquarters on Daniels Hole Road to participate in pet contests, vaccinate their pets at low costs, and learn about different therapies available — such as hydrotherapy, therapeutic massage, reiki, and cold laser therapy — to help or heal their dogs and cats.
Scott Howe, executive director for the nonprofit rescue fund, said the event had been going on almost as long as the nonprofit’s founding in 1974.
“This is the first event of the year where we get to see all of our volunteers and friends together after a long winter,” said Howe. “It feels like a great neighborhood party.”
Many adopted pets formerly housed at the Wainscott shelter — referred to as “ARFans” by the nonprofit — and their owners were on hand, as well as other pet owners. Those who attended were able to feed their pets organic dog treats and took part in activities, such as an agility course and talent contests, such as “Cutest Pet” and “Best Behaved Pet.”
Annemarie McCoy and Inda Eaton, both of East Hampton, won “Best Duo” in one of the contests with both of their pets, Maisie and Lucky.
McCoy, also making her first trip to the Saturday event, was given Maisie, her 2½-year-old Sheepadoodle, by her family when the pup was 8 weeks old. For McCoy, being at the event was a way to both support the animal shelter and celebrate her love for Maisie.
Being a pet owner "is all about unconditional love. That’s what it’s all about,” McCoy said.
Eaton, also attending the event for the first time, adopted Lucky, her 18-year-old poodle, from her grandmother. Lucky’s original family left him at an animal shelter in California. Eaton said she was happy to participate in an event that raised awareness for animals in the local community.
“When two different species can be friends, it makes humans better. When humans make friends with dogs, it makes them better humans,” Eaton said. “This is about multiple generations, about friendship, community, and rescue. We all need to be rescued.”