PETCO adoption event
Courtesy of Stephanie Pray

Whether you have a bulldog, mastiff, pit bull or boxer, the PETCO store in Ahwatukee Foothills will be celebrating all “bully” breeds this Saturday with their St. Pitty’s Day event.

“It’s kind of focused on bully breeds to get the word out about what great dogs these guys are,” adoption coordinator and inventory manager Stephanie Pray said. “They’re very, very misunderstood breeds. It’s funny finding out how many people are still afraid of them, just because they’re initially not as educated or just don’t know much about them.”

The St. Pitty’s Day event includes a variety of vendors and contests, with food and treats sponsored by Natural Balance pet food and prizes courtesy of PETCO. One contest awards the dog donning the best green attire, while another honors the dog with the best smile. As Pray likes to say, “bully breeds are known to have this big ole’ smile.”

Ruff Road Rescue in Mesa will also be bringing half a dozen or more bully breeds that will be up for adoption at the event. All dogs were either abandoned or brought to various shelters throughout the community.

The event has taken place at different PETCO stores in the Valley through the years, but Pray believes the event will benefit greatly at the Ahwatukee location.

“This one is going to have a lot more attention because of the area,” Pray said. “A lot of people shop with us, and it’s kind of a known PETCO in the area. I think it’s going to have a lot more impact in the community.”

The events do not stop with St. Pitty’s Day, either. The Ahwatukee PETCO is also planning spring break and Earth Day events for pets, aside from their regular adoption weekends. Pray believes that these events are great opportunities for dogs and their owners to come out and socialize, regardless of breed.

“It’s kind of hard in Arizona to find dog-focused events, especially when it starts to warm up,” Pray said. “It’s all about bringing them out to socialize, showing off your pooch, and talking about things that are going on: how crazy your dog is, how great your dog is, kind of compare notes on everything.”

St. Pitty’s Day will go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ahwatukee PETCO, 5011 E. Ray Road.

For more information, call (480) 893-3383 or visit

• Patrick Ryan is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University

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