Woof or treat

On Saturday, Oct. 26, Jewels, a Golden Retriever, wins the Most Creative Costume award dress as a bumblebee. The annual dog celebration event offered a dog costume contest to celebrate Halloween with the pets of the Downey community.

Mizhelle Cortes, Writer/ Business Team

On Saturday, Oct. 26, locals from the Downey community brought their families and dogs to celebrate the dedication of the David R. Gafin Dog Park located in the Rio San Gabriel Park. The afternoon’s schedule included a dedication ceremony, a Downey PD K-9 Unit Demonstration, and a dog costume contest, just in time for Halloween.

The event kicked off with an 11 a.m. ceremony for former mayor David R. Gafin, who thought of opening a dog park, which was then built in 2010. In turn, Downey’s council members decided it was best to recognize Gafin’s initiatives, in which they granted name recognition. As the ceremony commenced, Gafin expressed his appreciation and called to the front, the present mayor, Mario A. Guerra.

“Anytime we have community events, it’s always good to bring our citizens out. The number one thing is to get exposure to the benefits that we have in our city. By giving exposure, it tells people, ‘Hey, we have a dog park!’,” Guerra said. “This is a nice community benefit.”

Shortly after the observance, the Downey PD K-9 Unit held a demonstration. The officers gathered three containers, one containing narcotics, to test the dog’s keen senses. The dog detected the narcotics and he started scratching the box. The K-9 unit demonstrated their ability to sense various items for the audience.

Police officer Kurtz expressed the importance of having a K-9 unit that benefits the city of Downey.

“The K-9s help us since they smell things much more efficiently and to a smaller degree. The dogs help us catch bad guys who are fleeing,” Kurtz said. “They’re going to help us with our safety.”

After the demonstration, dog owners and other residents were free to roam around the park. Whether it was having their dogs run wild in the play section or visiting the booths, both dogs and owners fulfilled their time at the event. Some booths that were present included Downtown Kennels for dog training, SEAACA for adoption and information of animals, Petsmart, and the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Program.

DJ and announcer for the day, David Anderson, shared his thoughts about the celebration of the David R. Gafin Dog Park.

“It’s a great community event. Just to get all the families and pets out here to get this kind of experience is wonderful,” Anderson said. “The sun’s out and it’s turning out to be a great day.”

An announcement was made to gather the owners and dogs to prep their costumes and wait in the judging area.

With dogs dressed up as various characters, such as a cowboy, bumblebee, angel, pumpkin, frog, Superman, fairy, and motorcycle rider, the judges, owners, and dogs were ready to commence the costume contest. As the judges called the contestant’s numbers and revealed each dog’s name and costume type, the owner walked in a circle to showcase their uniquely dressed dog for their 10 second spotlight. Cheering was heard, as well as applauds, as the audience expressed smiles and laughter as each dog flaunted their character for the day.

With the results coming in from the judges, the winners were revealed. With three categories for best costume, most creative and scariest costume, the winners and owners were able to go home with prizes, such as a new dog bed, leash, and other necessities for a pet.

Yessenia Rodriguez and her mother Laura Rodriguez shared their excitement as their Golden Retriever Jewels won in the best creative costume category.

“We [Rodriguez family] were excited to enter her,” Rodriguez said. “We were hoping that she would win.”

“It was good to have her [Jewels] socialize with other animals, since we just adopted her, so it was really nice to bring her out here,” Mrs. Rodriguez said.

The event was filled with good vibes as the dogs enjoyed themselves with treats and running and socializing with other pets, while the owners and other visitors took delight in walking around and listening to the upbeat music. Not only was the day dedicated for the naming of David R. Gaffin Dog Park, but for the new beginning of dogs being able to roam around the section of the park made especially for them.