On a sweltering afternoon last weekend, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden was thriving for its annual Tails ‘n’ Trails event. Nearly a thousand humans and hundreds of canines attended the event, which featured demonstrations from CARE Animal Hospital and On the Lamb duck-herding. Raffle drawings, caricature booths, and photo contests also kept dog lovers and their canine companions busy from 10 a.m. well into the late afternoon.
Internationally acclaimed S.B. artist Susan Bahary also attended the event and displayed her life-size, bronze and acrylic sculptures. Bahary first gained national attention for her sculpture, “Always Faithful,” the first official U.S. monument to the heroic war dog. Blending her two passions—dogs and art—Bahary’s work is on display at national museums and cemeteries across the country. “I’m inspired by the nobility and innocence of animals, especially the service dogs,” Bahary said. “They do so much for the rest of us.”
Another booth fueled by patriotism, Operation Freedom Paws, featured the nationally recognized nonprofit that empowers veterans and others with disabilities to train their own service dogs. Their goal is to simultaneously help rescue dogs and veterans save each other.
At the dog adoption booth, dedicated staff told event goers about their foster dog program that allows locals to take in dogs for a short amount of time until someone adopts the animal permanently. One shelter’s representative said, “We get to know the dogs well to place them in their best home.” The government shelter hosts several dozens of animals at a time also picks up the tab for food costs and medical care.
Attendees with leashed pups received one free admission. Although the five-mile stretch that encompasses the Garden is dog friendly every day, this event is intended to celebrate canines and coincides with National Dog Day celebrated every August.