No howling at ‘Howl-o-Ween’ party

What do you get when you have a dozen or so dogs, a couple of cats and a pig? Throw in a business that will send people texts from their dogs and an animal whisperer and you get the annual Howl-o-Ween party at GiggyBites in Olde Ridge Village in Chadds Ford.

In addition to a kibble-eating contest, there was also a doggie costume contest during the Sunday, Oct. 26, festivities.

Col. Popcorn, an 18-month old bijon frisé from Media came in drag as Marilyn Monroe.

Even a serious service dog, such as Stephen, got into the spirit. Stephen, who came through Canine Partners for Life, gives aid to Samantha Lorey who has spinal muscular atrophy.

Stephen spends most of his time carrying and retrieving items for Lorey, or helps reposition her arms or pay cashiers. But for Howl-o-Ween, Stephen showed his alter ego and the other side of his super hero persona, that being The Green Arrow, complete with mask and a quiver full of arrows.

GiggyBites owner Stephanie Rossino said the annual event is just for fun and in addition to the smiles from the dog owners, the sniffing and tail wagging meant the dogs were enjoying their time, too. Especially when snatching tossed treats out of the air.

For those people who think it would be fun to get texts from their dogs, Barb McClatchy from WittyPets in Havertown was on hand to offer a suggestion.

Service dog Stephen as The Green Arrow.

Service dog Stephen as The Green Arrow.

McClatchy said WittyPets is an online texting subscription service.

“You go to our site, fill out a profile on your dog, its habits and traits and a profile about yourself. Then we, at night, magically know how to write an algorithm that sends you a text every day from your dog using its personality,” McClatchy said.

It’s all customized and can be used to remind people of special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, she added. It’s also a set-up for a joke.

McClatchy gave an example of the canine humor.

The text would read: “Remember the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? I think of that every time I see a picture of a hairless cat.”

Also on hand was Jackie Rettberg, a retired chemical engineer from Dupont Co., who is now an animal whisperer.

Rettberg has been working her animal communication skills for seven years and teaches a class in it. She said she can help people and their animals by getting into the animals’ heads and learning what’s going on with them emotionally. The animal does not have to be present, she said, and her brochure says she also does readings over the phone.

Rettberg said she got into animal communication after adopting a cat from the Delaware Humane Society. The cat was a rescue from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and her ability came spontaneously.

“I started to hear her in my head with a southern accent. Here I am a Dupont engineer, and I’m hearing this cat in my head. I started to hear other animals as well and got validation,” Rettberg said.

Eleanor Pigby, a pot bellied pig, is looking for a home.

Eleanor Pigby, a pot bellied pig, is looking for a home.

She is also a Reiki master and does Reiki, a hands-on relaxation practice, with the animals.

Rettberg said the biggest mistake people make with their pets is that they’re not positive in letting the animal know what’s expected.

“Only speak positively. Only say what you want, not want you don’t want,” she said. “People say, ‘Don’t bark,’ ‘Don’t go in the street.’ What they should say is ‘Be quiet,’ or ‘Stay.’”

Rettbertg said animals do understand some words, but mostly they pick up on emotions and thought pictures, “But they get confused sometimes.”

She said she’s had good success with the practice.

“I’ve had animals that were afraid, wouldn’t come out from under the bed, but after I talk to them they come right out,” she said.


About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



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