‘Family Fun Day’ stresses education
The theme was “family fun” but the mission was education, as the second annual Liam J. Perk Family Fun Day gave Cape families the chance to learn about canine safety.
The event, held at Rotary Park, kicks off National Dog Bite Awareness Week locally, and is held in the honor and memory of Liam, who died nearly two years ago after being bitten by the family dog.
“I think people have been curious, they’ve been interested,” said Carrie Perk, Liam’s mother, about the event’s educational components. “But we’re also promoting family, which is important.”
Children and their parents had the chance to learn how to read the signs, sometimes subtle, that dogs are sending to let us know they’re uncomfortable.
Certified trainer Bobbie Graves walked families through those signs with the help of large photos, showing dogs in various degrees of discomfort, and humans being unaware, or unable, to read those signs.
“Dogs will tell you exactly what’s causing them stress if you know what to look for,” Graves said. “There’s sign and body language between dogs and humans.”
Graves said it was important to realize that bringing a dog into your home means you have to be prepared for at least a 13-year commitment.
She said the level of communication with your dog is crucial and it must be something you commit to.
“It has to be a lifestyle,” she said of the communication. “You have to be aware that a dog is a four legged animal that lives in our world.”
Part of the Saturday’s efforts means taking the education beyond just the Family Fun Day, sharing the information with schools and to make it available for anyone to use.
The Liam J. Perk Foundation hopes to put up “Let’s Talk Dog” signs at the dog park at Rotary, but also to make the sign a widely known piece of literature they hope will save lives.
The sign offers 12 tips on dealing with and reading canines, making it easy to read stress and hoe to properly meet a dog.
“We’d like to see that sign everywhere,” said Laurie Posey, Carrie Perk’s sister. “We’d like to see it on bags of dog food, on boxes of cereal. We want people to know the signs.”
For more information visit liamjperkfoundation.org.