Thurston Pets Project

Local pet-related events: past, present and future


Ours is a pet-active region! 

Past: Ratapalooza

Ratapalooza was held on Saturday, May 18 at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. We attended and were overwhelmed by the turnout of so many rat fanciers, both seasoned and newcomers who arrived filled with energy and curiosity. This was the first event held by RatsPacNW since COVID-19 and it was a success as the hall was filled with people of all ages.

Now before everyone goes scurrying for cover, please realize that we are talking about the Fancy Rat (Rattus norvegicus domestica) -- not to be confused with the wild brown rat with which we are more familiar. The domesticated, fancy rat, has been bred over generations and is more comfortable around humans. Fancy rats are generally quite affordable, even compared to other small pets; this is one of their biggest draws. They are independent, affectionate, loyal and easily trained. They are considered more intelligent than other domesticated rodents. The downside is that even the healthiest rats only live two to three years.

Ratapalooza ran the whole gamut of people who turned out for this event. I talked with Caitlin, who was there for her first competition, who told me that she started with her first rat in 2020 as a companion pet and now owns 32. Her background in veterinary medicine definitely helped she said. Several people were there for their first time out of curiosity such as Alicia who held a rat for the first time; Trent and Lindsey were at their first show as they were thinking about taking on a fancy rat as a pet.

The judging competition for rats is similar to other competitions where they are scored on body types, coats and markings. Once you put aside all the negative stereotypes of rodents, you will be amazed how much fun and intelligent these animals can be.

Having had pet mice when I was young, this event brought back many fond memories.

For more information about future events, you can contact

Present: Tumwater Dog Days

Mark your calendars as we get the summer going with the 2nd Annual Tumwater Dogs Days on Saturday, June 8 at Pioneer Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to celebrate Man’s Best Friend (sponsored by TwinStar Credit Union along with this year’s Vaccine Clinic Sponsor, Toyota of Olympia).   There will be food, contests, games and much more!

10:30 am:        Mayor of Tumwater welcome
11:00 am:        Dog/Owner Look-a-Like contest
11:25 am:        Dog costume contest
12:00 pm:        Tumwater K9 Demonstration
12:45 pm:        Happy Dog Institute & Friends Sport Dog & Scent Work Demonstration
1:45   pm:        “Ruffle” Prizes and Contest Winners
2:00   pm:        Closing Farewell and Thank you

Featured Activities will include:

  • Pup Play Zones (Field 1 under 30lbs, Field 3 over 30lbs)
  • TwinStar Tails ‘n’ Trails Loop with Treat Stops
  • Say Hi to TwinStar’s Superhero, Dollar Dog!
  • Moment of Silence for Man’s Best Friend (presented by Tumwater Arts in partnership with Five Hearts Farms)
  • Caricature Artist (presented by Tumwater Arts)
  • Face Painting w/Skye

Rabies Vaccine clinic – FREE for the first 100 pups (provided by Deschutes Animal Clinic and sponsored by Toyota of Olympia). 

This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the companionship between us humans and our beloved furry friends, protectors, service providers and just plain lifelong friends and companions.

Where? Pioneer Park located at 5801 Henderson Blvd SE, Tumwater. It’s FREE, so come have a whole bunch of pawsome fun!

Future: Pet Parade 

Get ready to join in the fun, creativity and cuteness that makes up the 92nd Annual Olympia Pet Parade presented by Olympia Veterinary Hospital!

Pet lovers of all ages along with their furry friends are invited to join in the excitement as the Hands On Children’s Museum hosts our beloved Pet Parade on June 22 starting at 10:30 a.m. during the LoveOly SummerFest in downtown Olympia.

The Olympia Pet Parade is a celebration of our animal companions and the joy they bring to our lives.  It is a City of Olympia summer tradition that has connected that joy to our community for more than ninety years.  From pampered pooches to fabulous felines, scaly sidekicks and feathered friends, all household pets are welcome to strut their swagger alongside their proud owners.  There’s a spot for everyone whether it’s to show off a stylish costume or their simple natural charm.

The parade route will start at the corner of Legion Way SE and Washington Street, wind around Sylvester Park, up Capitol Way and finish in the U.S. Bank parking lot on Fourth Avenue which will offer plenty of opportunities for spectators to cheer on their favorite pets and snap photos and videos.

But the fun doesn’t stop there!  After the parade, pet owners and their companions can enjoy a variety of LoveOly SummerFest activities, including pet caricatures by Daffy Doodles (11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.), making pocket pets, creating bookmark beasts and playing a catapult snack attack game at the Hands On booth.

“We’re thrilled to sponsor the Olympia Pet Parade and celebrate the special bond between pets and their owners,” said Dr. David Bell, Olympia Veterinary Hospital Owner.  “This is such a wonderful family tradition and it’s always heartwarming to see the creative costumes and adorable pets that will join us this year.”

Registration for the Olympia Pet Parade is open to pet owners of all ages but is limited to pets of the household variety – no horses, cows, farm or exotic animals are allowed.  All participants will receive a 2-for-1 pass to the Hands On Children’s Museum.  Don’t miss this wonderful and fun opportunity to showcase your pet’s personality and have a great time!

For more information or to register for the parade, visit

Paws For Thoughts

“ It is not so much that I acquired dogs as it is that dogs acquire me” 

     ~ E.B. White

Thom Donitz and Trish Lynn are neighbors and close friends who share their love of animals and wildlife. Trish is a lifelong resident of Tumwater; Thom moved here 20 years ago. Contact them at


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  • Terrilovesanimals

    First off, rats are great! And thank you for this whole article and letting us know about upcoming events! We LOVE animals!

    Thursday, May 30 Report this