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Photos and text by Allison Jarrell

San Juan’s Historic Town Center Park nearly reached its cute threshold on June 2 as local animal rescues, dogs and their humans attended the first ever Old Town Doggie Showdown fundraiser.

Event organizers from San Clemente rescue Fur-Ever Home said they plan to hold the fundraiser annually. This year’s event also featured three San Juan Capistrano rescues—The Zuri Pet Rescue, The Ark of San Juan, and Doggie Bonez—as well as Orange County-based Leashes of Love Rescue.

The fundraiser included vendors, raffle drawings and prizes, as well as an obstacle course and a variety of contests. Cynde Van Vleet, board president of Fur-Ever Home, said she wanted to emphasize the importance of positive reinforcement training for all dogs with the contests and obstacle course.

“We want to encourage people to train their dogs, especially their rescues,” Van Vleet said. “What better way to show people how fun it is to have trained dogs than with an event like this?

Van Vleet also noted that “not all trainers are created equal.” She recommends dog owners check for certifications when selecting a trainer.

For information on certified trainers, visit the website for the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers at

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