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Picture Your Pet
When: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. today
Where: Lakeside Park pavilion 2
What: A 5-by-7 portrait of your pet or you and your pet. Pets brought to the park must be on a leash or in a pet carrier.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Catrice Whitlow places her dogs Sophie and Sasha for their portrait at the Picture Your Pet event.

Pet portraits aid animal safety programs

It was family portrait day at Lakeside Park, and Marci could barely contain herself.

She squirmed while being held, snapped at others far bigger than her and didn’t always want to look at the camera.

But that’s probably par for the course when you’re a 10-month-old ball of white fur and fluff.

Marci’s owners took her to Lakeside on Sunday to be a part of Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control’s 25th annual Picture Your Pet event. It was the dog’s first family portrait.

“We’ve been doing this every year,” said Amy Freygang-Bogle, the mother of Marci’s owner, Rachel Freygang, and a longtime dog owner.

It’s no secret that pets can become a part of the family.

And the event, which lasts through today and is part of Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival, gives owners an opportunity to get a professional portrait done at an affordable price, said Peggy Bender, spokeswoman for Animal Care and Control.

“We’ve done this so long, we’ve literally seen some of these families grow up,” Bender said.

Families with pets receive a 5-by-7 studio portrait of their pet and family together or just pets for $15. Photos are taken by Jim McKinely Photography, and proceeds support community animal safety education programs.

While dog owners are the ones who mainly show up, all pets are welcome, Bender said. Cats, rabbits and even hamsters have been brought in to have pictures done.

This year, Denise Rainwaters brought what many at the park thought to be a first: two sugar gliders named Willy Wonka and Minka.

Sugar gliders are small marsupials that look like mini-possums and originate from Australia. Rainwaters carried Willy Wonka and Minka in a pouch when they weren’t crawling on her shoulders or across her back and chest. In all, Rainwaters said she has 21 sugar gliders at her home.

“That’s what happens when you have an empty nest,” she said.

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