Worth County Fair opens with pet show

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 22, 2006

By Joseph Marks, staff writer

NORTHWOOD, Iowa &045; The Worth County Fair opened Wednesday with a howl and a whimper and even a meow or two.

Young 4-H members from Worth County brought their pets on stage at the 4-H Pet Show to demonstrate their knowledge of the pet’s diet, health and breed. Dog owners were also judged on their dog’s response to commands and the quality of their dogs’ coats.

The Worth County 4-H Clubs are sponsored by Iowa State University Extension. Worth County Extension Education Director Dennis Johnson organized the 4-H Pet Show with 4-H Youth Coordinator Susan Kliment.

Johnson said the show’s goal is to encourage proper pet care and responsibility in young people. The young people also must answer several questions from the judges, Johnson said, which encourages good communication skills.

Johnson estimated about 25 dogs were at the show, 12 cats and 12 other animals.

Samantha Zipse, an 11-year-old member of the Deer Creek Wohelos 4-H Club, brought five of her rabbits to present at the show, including one English, two French and one Jersey woolly rabbit.

Samantha and her mother, Jeanette Zipse, pluck the

wool from the rabbits, some of which reach 1 1/2 feet in length, and Jeanette spins the wool into yarn for knitting and crocheting.

On the more traditional end of the spectrum was Timera Johnson, a 14-year-old member of the Hoof Prints 4-H Club who brought her 5-year-old American bulldog A.J. to the show. She said the judges asked her about A.J.’s age and what he eats.

But the farthest out there was Axle, 16-year-old Cindy Smith’s 8-year-old snake who she brought to the show wrapped around her neck. Smith said she was guaranteed a ribbon because she was the only participant to bring a snake.

Axle is just one of Smith’s pets. Because her father is a veterinarian, she said, the family has numerous pets including birds, dogs, cats, a tortoise, a lizard and fish.

Smith said Axle is her favorite, along with her cat, because he’s easy to take care of and doesn’t smell. She said Axle only eats live mice and rats, usually in one gulp.

Smith is a member of the Hot Shots 4-H Club.