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Publish Date: 5/12/2006

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Nick Duran draws a caricature of a dog during the 2005 Furry Friends Festival at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.Photo special to the Times-Call

Furry scurry
Humane society hosts get-together for animals and their owners

 LONGMONT — The key to a well-done caricature, those exaggerated artworks at fairs and carnivals, is “capturing what the person or animal really enjoys doing,” said Nick Duran, a caricaturist to be featured at the sixth annual Furry Friends Festival on May 20.

“Everybody’s dog is a little different and has a different personality,” said Duran, a graphic artist from Thornton who has volunteered his talent and proceeds from his drawings to the festival for a third year.

The Furry Friends Festival, the Longmont Humane Society’s second biggest fundraiser, is coupled with the annual Walk for Animals, a three-mile trek along the St. Vrain Greenway that kicks off the day.

Walkers can collect pledges, and prizes will be awarded to the walkers who collect the most. All proceeds from registration and walk pledges benefit the Longmont Humane Society.

Though the event is geared toward dogs and their owners, special events coordinator Julie Kunkel said the festival has brought out goats, ponies and llamas.

“That’s been an interesting twist on the walk,” she said. “It’s not only a vital fundraiser for us, but it’s a community event for families and pets.”

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the Walk for Animals from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., Kunkel said.

Festivalgoers can visit Mutt Main Street, which will feature a parade, games, demonstrations, live music by local band Mojo Mama and booths of pet-minded businesses and services.

Nancy Bruington, a local animal whisperer, will address “behavior problems, health issues and generally how to spoil your pet.”

Bruington, who has volunteered her time with the shelter’s adoptable dogs, said she uses techniques she learned as a human chiropractor using acupuncture meridians, in addition to telepathy to communicate with the animal.

A 15-minute session costs $40 at the festival.

“What (owners) can expect is that we can get to the bottom of the issue,” she said. “Owners will have more information about how to interact with the dog.”

Kunkel said the event is a “community resource for the pet-owning community.”

The Humane Society will provide discounted pet microchipping, which usually costs $45 to $60, Kunkel said. Microchipping through the shelter will cost $6.95 to register and $25 to implant the chip.

Animal lovers can visit Duran’s booth to sign up for a 10-minute spot as the artist sketches pet caricatures, at $15 each.

Duran said he drew caricatures in high school, and he has volunteered as a pet caricaturist for the festival the past two years.

“I have a little more cartoony look to my characters,” he said.

“You see some people who do very realistic drawings, but because the dog can’t sit perfectly still, I try to portray the dog doing something they like to do. One woman said her dog liked riding in the car, so I drew him riding in a motorcycle.”

In the three hours he is at the festival, Duran estimated he can get about 20 to 30 drawings done and recommended owners sign up early.

“It’s a fun time for a good cause,” he said. “I look forward to it year after year.”

Last year’s festival raised about $2,100, Kunkel said.

Trot this way

What: The sixth annual Furry Friends Festival

When: May 20. Registration for the 13th Annual Walk for Animals, which kicks off the festival, begins at 8:30 a.m. with the walk at 9:30 a.m. Mutt Main Street closes at 1 p.m.

Where: Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road

Info: Registration costs $30 in advance and $35 the day of the festival. For more information, contact the Longmont Humane Society, 9595 Nelson Road, online at www.longmonthumane.org or call 303-772-1232.

Melanie M. Sidwell can be reached at 303-684-5274, or by e-mail at msidwell@times-call.com.

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