Pets seek local homes for the holidays

Weekend gift fair featured four adoption booths, in addition to gift ideas, miniature theme park

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

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These animal groups were represented Sunday:

Humane Society for Southwest Washington

West Columbia Gorge Humane Society

Tender Care Animal Rescue

Second Chance Companions

Moe the puppy looked as if he were dreaming Sunday, and maybe that dream was, "All I want for Christmas is a family to adopt me."

The 2-month-old Chihuahua-terrier mix was at one of four adoption booths at the Clark County Holiday Gift Fair at the fairgrounds. Radio station K103-FM sponsored the "Take Me Home for the Holiday" portion of the gift fair.

"We only get about 50 puppies a year," Stacey Graham said as she held Moe. "We get 3,000 kittens." Graham is president of the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, which has its shelter on 192nd Avenue in east Vancouver.

Alas, adoptions were slow on Sunday and Moe was taken back to the shelter. He can be yours for a $350 fee.

"We adopted out four on Saturday," said Shonda Feather, manager of community outreach for the humane society. Those adoptions included Tucker, a 10-year-old black Labrador, and Bryce , a 6-year-old brown tabby cat.

Oh, yes, Justin, a 4-year-old Chihuahua-dachshund mix was adopted by a woman "who had just lost her dog within a few weeks," Feather said.

There were more than 100 booths at the fair and lots of holiday entertainment. And organizers kept in mind the hungry in Clark County as volunteers collected food and money for the Clark County Food Bank.

In fact, the Y.E.A.H. (Youth Effort Against Hunger) volunteers were out in force during the three-day fair.

"It's so simple to give back to the community," said volunteer Diane Richards of the Twisted Whiskers 4-H Club. Her daughters, Randi, 14, ad Jordyn, 10, were helping. The family is from Ridgefield.

"It's nice knowing I'm helping out some people," said Randi, a 4-Her.

"It's been a lot of fun," added Kajsa Winther, 16, also a 4-Her who lives in Washougal. "I know a lot of kids my age don't do a lot of volunteering."

Kajsa's mom, Timmi Winther, said at least $400 was donated to the food bank on Sunday and Saturday's donations probably hit $1,000.

Sales looked slow at some booths Sunday afternoon, but Carroll Hayden, 74, was smiling at his spot.

Hayden of east Vancouver was showing his Funzville Miniature Theme Park, complete with an HO scale trolley. He collects "Mr Christmas World's Fair" miniature amusement rides.

His setup has 12 rides including a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, roller coaster, merry-go-round and parachute drop.

Hayden worked for years at Washington State University at Pullman in activities and recreation. He was the guy who arranged for big-name entertainers to come to campus."I was in entertainment almost my entire career at WSU," he said.

So, he volunteers to bring his carnival to events, which he called his retirement hobby. He doesn't sell anything, just hopes for smiles.

"They've got Christmas music in them," he explained. "Each ride has at least 15 Christmas carols, some up to 25."

He said people look at the carnival and say, "Wow, this is neat."

"I feel it's a kid magnet for all ages," Hayden said.