Family, Fur & Fun pet festival to overtake Exploration Peak Park Oct. 19

There’s no denying that attorney Donna Stidham has a passion for animals, personally and professionally.

Her law office, which offers estate planning and wealth preservation, even offers plans for family pets.

The idea came to her after she thought about parrots, tortoises and horses sometimes outliving their owners.

After some research, she discovered that pets left without owners are automatically sent to The Animal Foundation based on contracts between Las Vegas police and Animal Control.

According to Stidham, about 90 percent of cats and 70 percent of dogs sent to the foundation are euthanized because of overcrowding.

“When I got into working with the state and county, I realized that this is an immediate need for all animals, not just the ones that live a long time,” Stidham said. “I’m not trying to bad-mouth (the foundation). It’s not their fault, but I’m trying to help solve the problem by providing other solutions.”

Through her law firm, Stidham creates legal plans so that pets are placed in proper care after an owner’s death or disability.

“(The pets) can go to the neighbor, a child, even a no-kill shelter,” Stidham said. “It doesn’t matter where they go as long as they don’t end up being put to sleep.”

For that past six years, Stidham’s law office has sponsored the annual Family, Fur & Fun Festival.

This year’s event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 19 at Exploration Peak Park in Mountain’s Edge, 9600 S. Buffalo Drive.

The festival is set to celebrate the lives of rescued animals and educate the public on animal safety, nutrition and more.

“We want people to come out with their pets and enjoy the day,” Stidham said, “but we also want them to understand the importance of microchipping and spaying or neutering their pets.”

The event is set to host $3 races at noon for small to medium-sized dogs, agility demonstrations and a $3 Halloween costume contest at 1:30 p.m.

Raffles will also be held throughout the event. Winners will receive gift baskets with pet-related items or gift certificates for services ranging from hairstyling to free animal spaying or neutering.

“Whatever we get donated, we try to give away,” Stidham said. “We’re trying to give back to the animal community.”

Mind Your Manners dog training is also set to host the festival’s Canine Good Citizen program. The program rewards dogs that have good manners at home and in the community.

The test has 10 tasks: accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, appearance and grooming, out for a walk, walking through a crowd, sit and down on command and staying in place, coming when called, reaction to another dog, reaction to distraction and supervised separation.

All dogs that pass the test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. Each test requires a $5 donation.

“People love to watch the testing,” Stidham said. “We book appointments the day of the festival, and they fill up fast.”

Pet photographer Arica Dorff is also scheduled to return to the festival to offer fall portraits to pet owners at a discounted price.

“It’s a way to give people luxury items at an affordable price,” Dorff said, “and all the money gets donated to various animal rescues.”

Dorff, owner of Pet’ographique, regularly helps animal rescues and shelters by offering to shoot adoption portraits free.

“I’ve photographed pigs, chickens, bunnies and rats,” she said. “I did a photo shoot with Roos-N-More Zoo, and I took pictures of the monkeys and lemurs and a toucan. It was really cool.”

At the event, Dorff said she generally shoots 50 to 100 portraits.

“We take multiple photos to make sure we have the best pose, but each session only lasts about two minutes,” she said. “It’s for the people who want a quick, fun picture that has portrait quality.”

Portraits are $25. Customers can choose among a 5-inch by 7-inch or 8-inch by 10-inch photo or eight wallet-sized photos. Additional copies or poses are available for an additional cost.

Dorff will also be offering studio appointments for $75 during the festival. Appointments must be paid at the event.

“We’re so supportive of the animal community,” Dorff said. “It’s for a good cause.”

Several additional booths are set to offer games, crafts, animal adoptions and informational presentations.

Attendees are allowed to bring well-mannered, leashed pets that are not aggressive or stressed by crowds. Any pets left in vehicles will be removed by law enforcement.

All proceeds will be donated to animal shelters and rescues throughout Southern Nevada. Specific recipients will be named on the day of the festival.

The festival will also be collecting new and gently used items for Barks 4 Blankets, a nonprofit organization that helps dogs in need at animal shelters and rescue groups. Acceptable items include blankets, dog beds, toys, food, water bowls, leashes, collars, dog houses and dog sweaters and jackets.

“I love helping animals, so whatever we can do is a huge benefit,” Stidham said.

For more information, visit or call 702-444-3713.

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