For at least an hour, Judy Harris of Lehighton cradled the shorkie puppy on her shoulder. She didn't want to let go of the 5-week- old pup. Yet, she wasn't positive she was going to adopt her.
Harris was one of scores of people who attended the fourth annual Polka for Pets on Sunday at the Lehighton Community Grove, many with the hope of adopting a homeless dog or cat.
The event, which brings together various animal rescue organizations, is sponsored by the Mahoning Valley Lions Club.
Tom Zimmerman IV, coordinator, said he feels the event was a success because several dogs and cats were adopted.
"I think it went very well," said Zimmerman. "We had a really good turnout. There were seven rescue groups here."
Three hours of polka music was provided by the Pennsylvania Villagers polka band. Although most of the attendees opted to sit on lawn chairs and listen to the band, a few people couldn't resist getting up and dancing.
The brown shorkie that Harris was holding was brought to Polkas for Pets by the Peaceable Kingdom rescue group from Whitehall. It had an entire litter of the shorkies, which is a mix of shih tzu and Yorkshire terrier.
Harris said she previously had a yorkie, but it died about 10 years ago.
"I've been ready for another for a while," she said regarding finding another pet.
Her husband, Charles Harris, looked on approvingly.
The couple might have a little time to make a decision since they won't be ready for adoption for another week, although the amount of interest in them indicates they could find homes in a hurry.
Dr. Mary Lombardo of the Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital, also an organizer of yesterday's event, said the great weather certainly contributed to the turnout.
A new program was introduced at Polka for Pets.
Dr. Lombardo said the Amazing Grace Spay and Neuter Project is teaming with Diane Sharpless of Cat's Peak in West Penn Township to try to curtail feral cat colonies in the area.
Sharpless said volunteers will make an effort to trap feral cats, then neuter them and give them rabies vaccines.
"Pennsylvania is the number one state for feral cat rabies," Dr. Lombardi said.
According to Sharpless, the first priority will be a feral cat colony in the Beltzville area. Sharpless said an 84-year-old woman is taking care of the approximately 30 cats even though she can't afford to.
Amazing Grace is a program headed by Dr. Lombardo to help individuals with financial hardships get their pets spayed and neutered.
Sharpless said after the feral cats are spayed or neutered and given rabies shots, they will be returned to where they were caught.
For the program to work, donations are needed.
Also involved in the feral cat project are Carbon County Friends of Animals, Peaceable Kingdom, No Nonsense Neutering of Allentown, and Cat's Peak, which is handling the entrapments.
People wanting to help can send donations to Amazing Grace Spay and Neuter Program, P. O. Box 382, Lehighton, PA 18235. Written on the check should be "Save A Cat" so that the funds are used in this specific program.
Donations also can be made at the Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital.
For more information, call Sharpless at (570) 778-6886.
At Polkas for Pets, there were food stands by Carbon County Friends of Animals and the Lehighton Lions.