Every dog has its day (to play) at ‘Howls for Fall’

Rebecca Grohall, Maxine Grohall and Jon Turner [Photo: Denise Ritchie]

I’m still out of the office, so one of my many assistants volunteered to sniff out yet another dog-centric event – the H.A.L.O. Howls for Fall Festival last Saturday afternoon, co-hosted by H.A.L.O. No-Kill Rescue and the Indian River Shores Public Safety Department, held on the grounds of the newly constructed Indian River Shores Community Center.

Tails were wagging as assorted pups and their two-legged companions enjoyed old fashioned fun visiting a haunted firehouse, participating in a costume contest, taking hayrides, bobbing for apples and playing assorted games. Inside, vendors from H.A.L.O.’s Artisans at the Mall crew sold handcrafted goods and attendees could chow down a free lunch.

It was also the perfect time to reveal the 2020 Rescue Me Calendar, featuring photos of IRS Public Safety Department employees paired with some adorable animals rescued by HALO. Calendars can be purchased through the H.A.L.O. website, its Sebastian Adoption Center or at the IRS Public Safety Department, with proceeds supporting the Angel Medical Fund, for rescues needing extensive medical treatment.

The genesis for the collaboration began several years ago when Lt. Albert Iovino observed how his father, who had dementia, interacted with his dogs. Wondering if dogs might help officers during interactions with residents suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, they began fostering H.A.L.O. dogs; more often than not resulting in adoptions.

“Law enforcement has an obligation to reach out to the community in ways other than giving them citations and arresting them,” said Chief Rich Rosell, commenting on the bond developed by integrating emotional support dogs.

Recalling one resident who had called because his wife was in a rage, Iovino said, “She had dementia and was threatening to throw something through a window.”

Iovino said he was amazed by how quickly the woman calmed down when he brought along two of the firehouse foster dogs.

“It made perfect sense to combine our rescues with these rescuers,” added Jacque Petrone, H.A.L.O. founder.

Among Saturday’s attendees were a few of the nearly 100 potcakes (a mixed-breed dog found in Bahamas) which H.A.L.O. took in from the Grand Bahama Humane Society after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian.

H.A.L.O.’s mission is to provide a no-kill haven for abandoned and abused animals in Indian River County. Upcoming events include their Dec. 6 H.A.L.O. Fur Ball and the Jan. 5 Chase Your Tail 5K Run/Walk. For more information, visit halorescuefl.org.

Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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