Upper Hutt pet expo thrills animal lovers

01:56, Nov 04 2012
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Rose Clent, 17 months, with 11-year-old Marcey, a Pyrenean.
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Jessica Davies, 6, with a rat on her head.
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An exhibitor holds a bearded dragon lizard.

Bearded dragons, rescued rats and doggy obedience stars have kept animal-loving Wellingtonians entertained at the pet expo this weekend.

The expo at Trentham Racecourse in Upper Hutt featured a scruffiest puppy award, pet lookalike contests, giant cats and exotic lizards.

Many visitors took the chance to touch and play with one of the rats on display by organisation Rat Rescue which takes in mistreated or abused rats and re-homes them.

Six-year-old Jessica Davies loved the rats and thought they would make great pets, though she didn't think she could keep a rat herself as her dog might eat it.

Rescue rat helper James Gubbins said rats were more dog-like than cat-like as pets in that they needed constant care and attention from their owner.

Also popular at the expo was bearded dragon Ozzy, on show with the help of his handler 11-year-old Liam Cooper.

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Liam said the lizards made very good pets. ''You can just get interactive with them. And when you pick him up, he sometimes lets you know he doesn't want you to.''

The Australian lizard was very popular with young children in particular.

Also getting a lot of attention were the Pyrenean mountain dogs which weighed in at almost 70 kgs each.

Owner Trish Jackson said the dogs were very docile and tolerant with children. 

The Dominion Post