Jonesing for your critter fix?

Warm weather, strawberry festivals and no more school traffic on my way to work are just a few of the many reasons I love June, but one of my favorites is Scales & Tails Fest. Since 2006 we’ve planned this annual event to celebrate  all kinds of critters. And since that first year, when I adopted my own dog, I’ve enjoyed bringing in as many groups and different kinds of animals as possible. Snakes, dogs, skunks, pigs, chickens, horses — you name it and they’ve been part of this program at some point.

This year I’ll have a lot of snakes and exotic animals as well as the cats and dogs that we all love to pet and cuddle. In addition we’ll bring back the miniature horses and also talk a lot about Indiana wildlife.

I’ll also make my annual trek up to Purdue to pick up eggs for the incubators. We’ll keep these guys warm and cozy for a few days in the R.B. Annis Naturalist’s Lab before they start hatching just in time for the festival. It’s always a lot of fun to watch these little chicks peck their way out of an egg and realize they went from nothing to cute little chicks in only 21 days! At that time I’ll be somewhere near the 252nd day of my own pregnancy and will still have a month to go. Yikes!

We also have several great programs lined up this year including one on snakes as pets, training your cat (yes, apparently they ARE trainable!), exotic animals as pets and miniature horses.

So if you just like animals, you’re thinking about a new pet or are interested in how you can get involved with these great groups, stop on by. See some newly hatched chicks, touch a snake, meet some interesting people and enjoy a fine Saturday in June. 

For more information about the event and links to exhibitor information, visit our website.

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Whoa. Dogs, Cats, Birds, Ferrets, Snakes & Miniature Horses at the Museum

Rosco in 2006 prior to his adoption.

Rosco in 2006 prior to his adoption.

Remember Joey from Gimme a Break, with his catch phrase, “Whoa”? That pretty much describes my thoughts on Scales & Tails Fest this year. This is the fourth year for the program and it will no doubt be the biggest, best year yet! In fact, I’ve had such a great response that I’ve run out of room and many groups are bringing their own tables just so they can participate. It is truly a labor of love because the rescue groups and animal organizations are such hard-working, dedicated people who do whatever needs to be done to find happy homes for their critters and it is a pleasure working with them.

Rosco with his happy family.

Rosco with his happy family.

I personally love the giant rocking horses and the miniature horses, and of course the dogs, cats, ferrets, snakes and birds – well okay, I pretty much love everything about the event. In fact, during the inaugural event, I adopted my own awesome dog – Rosco!

Alissa Madden of Northside Animal Hospital takes a moment to enjoy a giant rocking horse during Scales & Tails 2008.

Alissa Madden of Northside Animal Hospital takes a moment to enjoy a giant rocking horse during Scales & Tails 2008.

While we will be working hard to get everything set up bright and early that morning, we will watch as participants from Indiana Task Force 1, Indianapolis Animal Care & Control, Indy Dog and Disc, Great Dane Rescue, Indy Pit Crew, Hoosier Herp Society, Indiana Horse Council, Hoosier Herpetological Society, Exotic Animal Rescue Pet Sanctuary, Ferret Rescue & Halfway House, Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators and so many more I can’t even mention them all for fear of exceeding my word limit (but you can check out a complete list here).

So if you’re in the market for just about any kind of pet or if you know someone who is, stop by and check out the event. If you don’t need a pet you can always come to watch dog agility, learn about wildlife rehabilitation, ride a giant rocking horse, hold a snake or watch baby chicks hatch.

Of course, the most amazing thing about the day is how we will transform this huge animal-filled event into a beautiful, clean and shiny, critter-free wedding reception that evening. Whoa.

Considering a Pet?

scales_tails_greyhoundsWarm weather and spring showers have crept in this year and it’s a good time to think about our pets and the other wild critters that share this great state with us. Since it’s also the time of year when we think of baby animals, we should keep in mind that pet over population can affect both pet owners and non-pet owners. Luckily, spay and neuter organizations offer low-cost procedures and trap-and-release programs offer ordinary citizens the chance to help curb feral cat populations in a humane way.

scales_tails_snakeThe sheer number of adoptable dogs and cats in Indiana has rescue groups working overtime to find them loving homes. Not only do they have so many great animals available for adoption, but they work with potential pet parents to make sure the animal and owner are well matched. If you’re looking for a mellow cat, an energetic dog, or maybe a bird to keep you company, there are groups who can give you the 411 on what you can expect from these animals and what would be expected from you.

Check with one of the many Indiana rescue groups if you’re considering a new pet or would like to help out as a foster parent. Whether you’re fond of a specific breed of animal or you’re partial to “mutts” there are groups that need your help.

scales_tails_dog_hugWant more information? Enjoy a chance to meet many of these hard-working people and some neat animals during Scales & Tails Fest – A Celebration of Pets on Saturday, June 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Indiana State Museum. A number of breed-specific dog rescue groups will be on-hand, as well as those specializing in exotic animals and cats. New this year is the Reptile Room which will feature a collection of reptiles from the Hoosier Herpetological Society and native species from O’Bannon State Park.  There will also be live demonstrations, educational presentations and take-home crafts! 

For a complete list of participating organizations, visit the official Indiana State Museum website’s Scales & Tails page.