A community celebrates their furry friends at Westgate Wags and Whiskers

Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
On Sept. 10, hundreds of individuals from across the westside and southwest communities came out for an afternoon of fun with their canines, cats, horses, rats, and even tortoises for the inaugural animal celebration known as Wags and Whiskers. Presented by the Westgate Neighbors Association and sponsored by BrewDog Franklinton and Schoedinger Pets, the four-hour long fiesta held at the West Gate Lodge on West Broad Street featured artisan booths for human shopping, crafts for children, and the showcasing of some of the most adorable animals in the area – a few of whom are still looking for their forever homes. Organizer Mari Ann Binder-Futty said the neighborhood group was not certain how many people would show up for the first Wags and Whiskers but was “delighted” by the higher than expected turnout. “This community loves their animals and we are so delighted that so many were able to come out and celebrate their furry, or not so furry, loved ones,” she said. Binder-Futty said they hope Wags and Whiskers, an event that also serves as a fundraiser for local animal shelters and rescue groups, will be bigger and better next year. Pictured here, Westgate Wags and Whiskers committee member Gabbi Atwell Raymond takes a quick break from the action with best pal Ollie, 5.
Azule, a Fancy rat from the westside, checks out the animal party under the supervision of her human, Layla Cotton, 9.
Mycroft, a 9-year-old English Bulldog, was all smiles at the event.
Westgate resident Omar Roth allows his kitten, Bug to lick a bit of whipped cream off his fingers.
Abby, a 3-year-old pitbull mix, munches on her new bone.
Lucy, a 2-year-old “mostly poodle,” gets excited by the water feature.
Bri Varney and her beloved horse, Bubba wowed the crowd with their skills. Varney, a freshman at West High School, has competed in a number of equine events across the state and throughout the country.
Sophia’s Grace Foundation volunteer Lynn Vandeweghe can’t help but watch in amusement as her special needs foster dog Marley shows off his cuteness to the camera. The Columbus resident joked that the 10-year-old chihuahua mix, who has a heart murmur and a deformed paw, is “more baby than dog.” Sophia’s Grace Foundation was one of four animal rescue organizations in attendance at Wags and Whiskers. Others included Colony Cats (and Dogs), For the Love of Jane, and the Humane Society of Madison County. A majority of the proceeds from the event went toward these local animal rescue organizations. For more information on the animals looking for their forever home, visit their websites at sophiasgracefoundation.org; colonycats.org; fortheloveofjanerescue.com; and hsmcohio.org.
Kat the Dog Groomer with Luxury Pawz Mobile Pet Spa, gives comfort and kisses to Ruby Rose as she trims her nails.
An appearance by local tortoise Saul added to the excitement of the day.
Alison Cho (left), Anakin, and Antonia Tribuzzo (right) gather for a photo during the festivities. Cho said that Anakin is a 5-month-old cuddler who is looking for his forever home through the For the Love of Jane rescue organization.
Georgia artist Peggy McFarland created this Rainbow Bridge artwork for Wags and Whiskers. It will be featured at the annual event for humans to post the names of their beloved pets who have passed. McFarland also created a smaller, 3-D barn quilt inspired Rainbow Bridge artwork for the Red Rover Rrrraffle.
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