Animal lovers celebrated their four-legged friends at Tractor Supply Co.'s second annual Pet Appreciation Day on Saturday.
The event, which drew about 20 people, featured organizations advertising services or raising funds for their groups. Participants included pet groomers, Los Banos Volunteers for Animals and Our Lady of Fatima 4-H. The Merced County Fire Department was also present with Smokey the Bear to teach fire safety.
Melinda Martinez of Los Banos Volunteers for Animals displayed pets available for adoption at the animal shelter. She said events like Pet Appreciation Day are important for her group.
"It kind of lets them know we're here. A lot of people will come to the shelter and go, 'I didn't know we had a shelter.' So if we bring the animals out, it helps," Martinez said.
It's cat season, according to Martinez, so the shelter has a few puppies available and an abundance of felines. A snowshoe mix and a tabby torti, along with dogs and rabbits, were on display.
Sergio Ortiz, Tractor Supply's assistant store manager, said many people still have no idea the store exists even though it's been in Los Banos for three years. The company's variety of pet products are also a mystery to many Los Banosans.
"We just want people to come out and bring their pets in and see what we have to offer," said Lisa Wetherington, who also works at the store. "We want people to realize we're more than just a tractor supply place. We have pet food, vaccinations, medications ... We're more like a one-stop shop."
Tractor Supply Co. donated hot dogs to the 4-H group to be sold outside the store in addition to the bake sale fundraiser the group organized.
The Merced County Fire Department also used the event to promote its $20 gun raffle. The proceeds from the raffle will be used to support the department's volunteer unit. The drawing for the gun is Sept. 1 and tickets can be purchased at the county fire station, 525 H St.
Ortiz said Pet Appreciation Day, which featured a petting zoo and llamas last year, will continue to evolve.
"We try to change it up every time so they don't get the same thing over and over again," Ortiz said.