For the love of pets

4-H’ers show off their ‘friends’ at the Webster Co. Fair

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Brylie Butrick, 11, of the Dayton Tigers 4-H club, helps get her chicken, Callie, to walk herself inside her cage during the Webster County Fair pet project Sunday.

In the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz,” one part of the movie has the characters chanting the line, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”

But at the Webster County Fair Sunday, a more appropriate chant might have been “Rabbits and chickens and snakes, oh my!” as 4-H’ers took part in the annual pet project.

Six Webster County 4-H’ers brought their pets to the fairgrounds Sunday afternoon to be judged in a variety of categories, including best display, best story and showmanship.

Karen Hayes, pet project supervisor, said each 4-H member has to show their pet, create an information display about them and tell their story.

“It’s a smaller show, but they all do amazing projects,” Hayes said.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Hailey Rees, 11, a member of the Washington Winners 4-H club, sits beside her rabbit, Thumper, as pet project judge Jake Shelton examines the rabbit. Rees ended up winning the fan favorite award.

Robbie Jasper, 14, of the C/C Sidekicks 4-H club, showed off his dog, Duke, a Goldendoodle.

Jasper said he originally wanted to show Duke as part of the dog show, but at almost 7 years old, his physical abilities weren’t well enough for that show.

So instead, Jasper said he decided to bring Duke to the pet project.

In his presentation, Jasper explained that Duke is a caring dog to both people and animals. In fact, he said Duke actually has two pet kittens that he taught how to groom themselves.

“Duke is the greatest dog on earth,” Jasper said. “And, quite frankly, the universe.”

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Robbie Jasper, 14, a member of the C/C Sidekicks 4-H club, pets his Goldendoodle, Duke, shortly before showing him at the pet project during the Webster County Fair Sunday. Jasper tied for showmanship champion.

Jasper and Duke ended up tying for champion in showmanship, along with Anna Lewandowski, 16, of the SonRise 4-H Club, and her chicken, Sally.

Lewandowski said she’s had Sally since she was a chick, and her pet was actually bullied by other chickens.

“A lot of the other chickens are really mean to her,” Lewandowski said.

As a result, Lewandowski said she ended up hand-raising Sally, who follows her around. Her chicken will even sometimes sit on a swing with her.

During the show, Sally ate a handful of mealworms right out of Lewandowski’s hand.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Paige Weiland, 11, a member of the Dayton Tigers 4-H club, talks about her goat, Taffy, who she showed during the Webster County Fair's pet project Sunday. Weiland was the champion in the story division.

Paige Weiland, 11, a member of the Dayton Tigers 4-H club, showed her goat, Taffy, who used to live at Oleson Park. But when the park downsized the amount of animals it had, her family bought the goat.

Weiland’s story was told from Taffy’s perspective.

“For the first week, I had the whole barn to myself,” Weiland read as Taffy. “But the cats and I did not get along. Now I have half the barn.”

In her story, Weiland also said Taffy escaped once, along with two other goats.

“But of course, Paige had to ruin our fun,” Weiland read as her goat.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Samantha Berry, 12, a member of the C/C Sidekicks 4-H club, gives her pet project presentation with her ball python, Dante, relaxing around her neck.

Samantha Berry, 12, a C/C Sidekicks 4-H member, showed her pet ball python, Dante, during the project.

For most of the time, Dante rested on Berry’s neck, but she said her snake has never hurt her.

“He does kind of grip to you, but he hasn’t strangled anyone,” Berry said, then added, “That we know of.”

Berry also said that she sometimes takes Dante outside, but not in the winter.

She added he’s only escaped once, but didn’t make it far; he ended up on top of his tank.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari SonRays 4-H club member Anna Lewandowski, 16, feeds her chicken, Sally, some meal worms during the Webster County Fair pet project Sunday.