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Dogs steal show at Healthy Living Fair – Quad

DAVENPORT — Dogs and humans alike flocked to the 11th annual Radish magazine-sponsored Healthy Living Fair at The Freight House Farmers Market in Davenport on Saturday.

The six-hour fair, located adjacent to the weekly farmer’s market, was lauded by all as a great way to promote healthy lifestyles and to spread the word about products and services that contribute.

As it usually does, the Pet of the Year contest stole the show, and an 80-pound, 3-year-old Labradoodle named Bailey stole the stage and the hearts of everyone watching.

“She’s wonderful,” said owner Sharon Cramer, of Rock Island. “I paid $400 for her, but I wouldn’t take $4 million.”

Bailey is a therapy dog that Ms. Cramer said already has done more than 200 facility visits, seeing varying numbers of patients at each visit.

“She’s one of the best therapy dogs,” said Ms. Cramer. “She’s been tested under fire with children, adults who are sick and special needs adults . . . and she does very well.”

Bailey and Ms. Cramer visit facilities such as Bickford Cottage in Moline, the Monastery in Milan, Friendship Manor, Memory Care, as well as participating in the Trinity and Genesis Health Systems Caring Canines programs.

And even though Bailey stays busy making a difference in people’s lives, she is no stranger to awards. Her list of accolades includes both a silver medal and a Companion Dog obedience title from the American Kennel Club and Dog of the Year at Friendship Manor.

Now she can add Radish Pet of the Year to the list, and Ms. Cramer said the contest is a great way to be an ambassador for her cause.

“I see it as fun, but for me I try to get the word out there about therapy dogs and how important a volunteer program that is,” she said. “The more I can get my dog out there, the better.”

Four other dogs competed for the title, and not one of them was an easy match.

Piper is another therapy dog with a big heart. She and her owner, Emily Clifton, do therapy with autistic children at Family Counseling and Psychology in  Bettendorf.

Coco is a rescue dog whose owner, Ali Domino, adopted her in Pasadena, Calif., a day before she was scheduled to be euthanized.

Alisha Leblanc named her toy poodle Casanova because, in spite of his size, she said “he’s very loving.”

Keebler, a Belgian sheepdog, was the fourth contestant and a third therapy dog that works at area nursing homes and hospitals. Keebler’s owner, Pam Clark, said “they are always on the go.”

Although dogs are beneficial to health and well-being, they weren’t the only attraction at the Healthy Living Fair, where more than 50 exhibitors set up their booths under large tents to give patrons information and samples about their products and services.

The exhibitors represented a wide variety of health-related topics such as fitness, massage and chiropractic therapy, whole and natural foods, hygiene and environmentally friendly products and overall wellness services or programs.

“We work with Radish magazine quite a bit,” said Max Mayfield of Greatest Grains. “They really have a great event, and we’re always at them because these are all the people that connect with us.”

Greatest Grains had a raffle for a number of product-packed baskets and gave out free samples every hour.

Alan Hon and Jen Harper, co-owners of Two Rivers Massage and Wellness, were giving out pamphlets and five-minute sample massages. They took over the business a year ago and have been working to get the name out.

“We have actually met a lot of people here that didn’t even know where we were,” Ms. Harper said. “So it’s great to talk to everyone and let them know what services we have.”

Another, more unique type of therapy was at the fair as well. Shoemaker Spa and Wellness Center was giving samples of their non-invasive fat loss laser therapy.

“It emulsifies your fat cells,” explained Penny Nuti, a laser technician at the center. “It’s kind of like if your were a chef and you put water and oil in a pan, it would separate. That’s what this is doing; your fat is the oil.”

The center, run by Dr. Karen Shoemaker, was offering a special on its package for multiple sessions of the hour-long therapy that Ms. Nuti said is a great alternative to liposuction and a jump start for greater weight loss.

Artwork was also on display at the fair, but it was artwork backed with powerful stories.

“The work on the table is a result of therapy by cancer survivors,” said Andrea Schelin, of Living Proof Exhibit, a nonprofit therapy center that offers free classes for anyone impacted by cancer.

“It’s really nice to see the artwork, but it’s healing for the people that come in to see it because of the stories behind it,” she said.

It was their first time attending the fair, and Ms. Schelin was excited.

“It means a lot to this organization because we’re all about getting the word out that we exist,” she said.

Radish sponsors two such fairs every year, one during the summer and one during the winter. For more information on future fairs and events, or to check out Radish magazine, visit radishmagazine.com.

Article source: http://www.qconline.com/news/local/dogs-steal-show-at-healthy-living-fair/article_d523ab4b-8914-57dd-a89d-3b1180e8c4af.html