Annual events held in conjunction at Verdugo Park in Glendale inform, entertain.
By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Hundred of folks made their way to Verdugo Park in Glendale on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the 9th Annual Kiwanis Incredible Duck Splash – KIDS – event. The fundraiser was hosted by the Glendale Kiwanis Club and was a family-friendly affair with plenty of activities for youngsters to take part in. There were several informational booths as well including Prom Plus and Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Michael Quest provided music and dance performances and martial arts demonstrations were also presented.
The stars of the day, however, were 18,000 little rubber duckies that came from Singapore to Cincinnati to take part in a series of races that ultimately determined a winner of $10,000. The ducks had been “adopted” by supporters from across the country who paid a minimum of $5 to have their competitor race along the waters of “Lake Glendale,” a temporary body of water created by the Glendale Fire Dept.
Enthusiasts lined the edge of the raceway as the floodgates opened and thousands of rubber ducks were swept down the watery thoroughfare amid the cheers of observers.
At the end of the afternoon, Glendale Kiwanis president TJ Denton announced the winners of cash prizes. Leaving the park $500 richer were Todd Stokes and John Pusa. Jan Cubani and Doris Tweet each won $1,000 and the big
winner of the day was John Brenner who took home the grand prize of $10,000. The top three teams that sold the most adoptions were Delphi Academy L.A., Glendale Healthy Kid and the Optimist Club of North Hollywood.
“It was a very successful event,” said Glendale Kiwanis president-elect Todd Hunt. “We exceeded last year’s [adoption] sales.”
In addition to the many activity booths as part of the KIDS event, there was more to see during the day. The fifth annual Glendale K9s in the Park took place at the north end of Verdugo Park. Hosted by the Glendale Police Dept. K9 unit, the dog-centered event featured photo opps with Glendale police K9s, pet adoptions and low-cost
vaccinations. Being a dog-friendly event, there were hundreds of people who brought their four-legged best friends for an afternoon of fun.
One of the interactive activities was a speed test where the speed of a racing dog was measured. Participants could bring their pet to a dog run that was set up for the day. The dog would be walked to the east end of the run while its owner stayed at the west end. When signaled, the dog would be released to race to its owner who was calling its name. A radar gun would capture the animal’s speed.
Lori Spiker with the Pasanita Obedience Club brought her pup Storm to the dog run where he clocked an impressive 16 mph. The club holds obedience classes at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena.
In addition to meeting many new dogs, the K9 event offered much for children, too. Face painting was provided by the Glendale Police Foundation. There was also an inflatable slide, climbing wall and a bounce house they could have fun with.
The most popular events were demonstrations by the police K9s that showed off their talents in taking down suspects.
Lt. Tim Feeley emceed the demonstrations that began with a Glendale police helicopter circling overhead. Suddenly a suspect’s van turned into the park and onto the grounds followed closely by a Glendale police car. The suspect exited his vehicle and tried to make a getaway, but Branko, one of Glendale K9 units, quickly took him down. The “suspect” was actually one of Glendale’s officers who was outfitted in heavy gear that protected him well from Branko’s attack.
Feeley explained that most of the police dogs come from Germany and are trained using German commands and hand signals. The dogs immediately responded to their handler’s direction, whether to go after a suspect or just contain him or her.
“An incredible bond forms between dog and handler,” Feeley said. While in service the dogs live with their handlers. Typically dogs are retired at about 7 years old at which time the handler can purchase their partner – for $1.
Demonstrations included the bark and hold technique designed to hold a suspect until the officer arrived and muzzle work that trains the dog how to use its entire body in containing a suspect.
Officer Daniel Inglis is a trainer who works with the canines. He was on the receiving end of many of the dogs’ attacks.
“It hurts,” he said. “It’s like being hit by a motorcycle traveling 25 mph. Even when I know it’s coming and roll with the weight of the dog, it still hurts.”
Inglis, 25, has been working with police canines his whole life – his father started the program. His said that in all his years he has never had an untrainable dog, though some may require a little more attention. The dogs are cross-trained in tracking and bomb/explosive and drug detecting.
The Glendale police K9 unit is solely supported by donations through the Glendale Police Foundation. To learn more or to make a donation, visit www.glendalepolicefoundation.org or mail to Glendale Police Foundation
PO Box 10142, Glendale, CA 91209-0142.