SCOTT TWP. — The outdoor property of Maiolatesi Wine Cellars was a spacious venue for many vendors at the third annual Pittie Palooza June 9. The word “pittie”refers to the rescued pitbulls, in which some of the vendors brought to the event in hopes of having them adopted. The attendees enjoyed wine served from employees of Maiolatesi Wine Cellars as they met with pet-friendly organizations.
Treasure’s Hope, a non-profit organization, which helps dogs with disabilities and special needs by finding homes and funding medical cases, was one of the hosts of the event. The organization was named after one of the four dogs belonging to president Leila Gonzalez. She rescued the pitbull Treasure, who is mobile-challenged, from a garbage bag in Philadelphia. At the event, she had a stand vending hats, T-shirts, painted glasses and tile coasters.
“It’s my favorite event,” Gonzalez said about the Pittie Palooza. “A lot of work but definitely worth it. We’re grateful to Maiolatesi Wine Cellars for letting us host the event. They’re dog supportive in addition to making good wine.”
Treasure’s Hope is partnered with Pittie Chicks, which vends apparel and accessories for pitbull lovers. Jessica Siegfried, president of Pittie Chicks, co-hosts the event with Gonzalez. She brought a pitbull Lola dressed in a tutu for people to see, pet and, hopefully, adopt.
Dressed in a hot dog costume, Griffin Pond Animal Shelter’s 7-year-old pitbull Michaelangelo was also up for adoption at the Pittie Palooza. Amber Weeks and Matthew Schwartz, Griffin Pond employees, had a stand raffling a box with dog supplies and a box with cat supplies along with vending pet-related refrigerator magnets.
“I like being around dogs so it’s a good place to be,” Schwartz said about the event. “It’s good exposure for the rescues and the shelters.”
“It’s a fun event to bring awareness to pitbulls,” Weeks added. “It’s to show that pitbulls are a lovable breed.”
Ruff Dog Rescue Northeast, of Thompson, PA, had a pen with four little pitbull puppies, also awaiting to be taken in by families. This non-profit organization rescues 99% of puppies who have been in dire-strait circumstances. They control the pet population by spaying or neutering them. They also microchip them and update their shots before finding them new homes.
“This has been a fantastic event,” said Tere Morris, president of Ruff Dog. “Not only is it a wonderful gathering of rescues, but also lets us visit some of our alumni who we don’t otherwise see. We get to meet a lot of old friends and meet new ones.”
Shannon Glenn, executive director ofMyPitbullisFamily.org, flew from Minneapolis to promote her service at the event. Her service has one goal: to have people see pitbulls as family dogs and end insurance and housing discrimination. She vended hats and bags, in which proceeds go to the database of rentals, which accepts all breeds of dogs.
“It’s amazing to talk to families with different types of dogs,” said Glenn.
Beth Hucke, board director of non-profit organization Outcast Rescue, walked a rescued pitbull named Van Gogh (because of a missing ear) for someone to adopt. This group rescues pitbulls and rottweilers from shelters, major medical cases. It’s 100% volunteer and foster-based. Kelly Moyer Outcast Rescue president vended shirts, magnets, and decals for the event.
Besides organizations that help dogs, the non-profit In Pursuit of GRACE, which helps cats, was at the Pittie Palooza. GRACE is short fore ‘giving, resources, advocating, community, and educating.’ It stabilizes the feline community by its TNR (trap, neuter, return) program. It also coordinates other programs such as animal advocacy and responsible animal owner education.
In Pursuit of GRACE president Jennifer Critchley enjoys supporting the Pittie Palooza.
“It’s always been a big turnout,” she said. “We’re pitbull lovers. Anything that brings attention to them is positive.”
Proceeds from admission sales will be shared with all the animal rescue organizations of the event.
The annual Pittie Palooza is the area’s only dog-friendly wine event. Pauline Toboulidis, special events coordinator of the winery, worked with owner Sal Maiolatesi to make this event happen.
“We’re glad to give back to the community,” said Toboulidis. “We donated the property and staff to find good dogs good homes and raise awareness.”
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