The Westminster Dog Show may be the biggest, but the Reading Stuffed Animal Pet Show certainly has to be the cutest. Held Thursday night in the Children's Room of the Reading Public Library, approximately 25 stuffed animals ranging from dog and cats to crocodiles and raccoons and their young owners participated in this premier show.
Librarians Kathy Miksis and Rachel Baumgartner came up with the idea on the heels of a dog show and a pet photo contest recently held at the Library. Since many families were on vacation, Kathy explained that "we wanted to come up with a program that would work with a variable number of children." She added that not everyone has a real pet, and this was a program to be more "inclusive."
The evening began with the children registering their pets. They then proceeded to have their pets checked and, if necessary, treated by "veternarians"Jackie Saunders and Grace Stroman, ("volunteens" with the Children's Room). The children then displayed their pets so they could be judged by Miksis, Baumgartner and Library Pages Meaghan Kinton and Nakita Shah.
While the judges tallied up the scores, the children paraded their pets around the library. After the parade, each participant proudly described why their pet was special. Each child received a certificate for their pet's outstanding achievement in its individual category. For example, the racoon won as the tiniest animal and a beagle named Chrissy had the scratchiest ears. Flippy, the mechanical dog that flipped won the flippiest award and the mechanical cat Annabelle was the most realistic. Other categories included best listener, chubbiest cheeks, softest, best eyes and most accessorized.