GLEN ROSE - Pet mania is taking over the cafeteria at Glen Rose Intermediate School's first ever Pet Palooza, Feb. 8-12. 

The weeklong event was the brainchild of the students in Hope-4-Paws. According to GRIS gifted and talented teacher, Donna Fowler, some of the group members will be competing on Feb. 28 in the upcoming Texas Destination Imagination tournament.

In order to compete, each team had to pick a challenge from a list provided by TDI and the Hope for Paws kids chose to tackle a community outreach challenge. Since the group is passionate and advocates for the the care and well-being of animals, it was only natural they organized a pet-friendly festival.

The group’s mission is to bring awareness to the community about pet health care and pet responsibility in hopes of controlling the overpopulation of unwanted pets.

“The number of pets in the local animal shelter increases each year and the shelter is filled with animals that are homeless, abused or just dropped off due to the owners not wanting the responsibility of them,” fifth grader Emma Parrish said.

Hope-4-Paws hopes that by educating its peers, it will make a difference in how those view and care for animals. With that in mind, each day was created to focus on one activity or informative session about animals and their care. 

On Monday the students made pet blankets and toys for the animals at Glen Rose Animal Care and Control. Other activities for the week include a visit from Doofus - a blind and deaf dog from Second Chance Farm, a meet and greet with local veterinarian Dr. Gary Crabtree and a visit from dog groomer, Brett Rinderknecht. 

Fowler said that between 110 - 115 students signed up to participate in the weeklong festivities. Unfortunately, they could only accept 50 - which were chosen by random draw. 

A few of the lucky students were particularly excited to learn about the different elements of pet care.

Socorro, a fifth grader, said she frequently visits Mexico and always sees stray animals. She decided that she wanted to help out the stray animals at GRAC. Kendall, who is also in the fifth grade, wanted to learn more about her dog’s behavior and why he, "likes to pee on the floor all the time."

With the popularity of the Pet Palooza mini camp, Hope-4-Paws is hoping to hold another second one in the spring.