This week’s featured shelter pet is Buddy, a 12-year-old tri-colored male Beagle mix up for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter.

Buddy is a sweet senior dog that deserves the BEST forever home to show him the love that he has been denied. This sweet boy was adopted and returned twice in his life. He is gentle, outgoing, loves all people and animals and is pretty low key.  He will bark for attention and love. He will follow you around and be under foot, that is, when he isn’t snuggled in a ball fast asleep.  He will need a home that can manage his chronic ear issues and his tendency to wander off. He is a delightful old man that just wants LOVE!

If you would like to meet Buddy, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with him in a domestic setting.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Visitor hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit




This week’s featured shelter pet is Jack, beautiful Pekingese mix currently up for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter. Approximately 2 years old, Jack arrived at the shelter on Oct. 24. 

Jack loves to sit in laps and get attention and is very endearing and  sweet. He is young, active and healthy but does have some quirks that a potential home will have to manage. When he likes someone, he adores them. However, until he likes them, he will growl, bark and bite at ankles. He prefers women and has some minor resource guarding that may be an issue with other dogs. He was found with a small female and they scuffled often, but did not cause injury to one another. He can also not be around children. 

If you would like to meet Jack, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with him in a domestic setting.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Visitor hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit

Huey, Dewey and Louie


This week’s featured shelter pets are Huey, Dewey and Louie, three male Pekin Ducks that were abandoned in a local park. They are now safe at the Smithtown Animal Shelter and are ready to be adopted.

Domestic fowl are not well suited to living in the wild and often are picked on by the local birds; these boys were no exception. They were huddled together on the shore, scared and confused. 

The shelter is not equipped to house any animals except cats and dogs. These boys deserve a pond or pool to hang out in and safe shelter from predators and extreme weather. They all love to eat and waddle around making adorable duck sounds. You cannot help but to be happy in their presence. Let’s help them find their perfect happily ever after!

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Visitor hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit

Caretaker informed minutes before animals due to be taken away

Locals confront Preservation Long Island on Wednesday, Nov. 8, during the nonprofit’s attempted removal of the animals at Sherwood-Jayne Farm in East Setauket. Photo by Mallie Jane Kim

Local residents rallied outside Sherwood-Jayne Farm in East Setauket Wednesday, Nov. 8, when representatives from Preservation Long Island — the nonprofit that owns the farm and its animals — made an unexpected attempt to remove the elderly pony and four sheep that live there.

The impromptu protest was confrontational and tense, with caretaker Susanna Gatz visibly distressed, and PLI executive director Alexandra Wolfe expressing frustration. Suffolk County police officers who cleared the 20 or so people out of the pasture area as requested by Wolfe also worked to maintain a calm atmosphere where possible.

In the end, the sheep and pony were spooked amid the tension, so the Save-A-Pet representative engaged to move the animals wouldn’t do so while they were agitated, and left the scene.

PLI has long planned to rehome its animals, but paused for review in August after significant community outcry. Gatz has lived on the property and cared for the sheep and pony for more than eight years. She and other local residents have been hoping the sheep and pony could live out the rest of their lives there.

On Nov. 8, Wolfe told Gatz the animals would leave just minutes before a Save-A-Pet van arrived to transport them.

Gatz said she felt blindsided. “To show up here today with a 15-minute notice to start moving the animals is not fair.”

Suffolk County Legislator-elect Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) attempted to help mediate and said he had a productive start to a conversation with Wolfe. He explained that the animals are an important educational and cultural resource for the community, but that he also understands PLI is essentially a collection of small museums and not in the business of caring for live creatures.

“She’s unhappy because the ownership that they have of these animals is not part of their mission,” he said, but added, “There has to be a solution other than removing the animals.”

Englebright said Wolfe expressed willingness for the idea of a separate organization owning and taking charge of animals on the property — though as police cleared people out of the pasture area and the protest grew heated with sobs, yelling and even a bit of shoving, Wolfe told the crowd she did not want the current animals to be part of any discussion.

Gatz’s sister, Sharon Philbrick, pulled three of her children out of school so they could come say goodbye to the animals, but police were no longer allowing people to go near the barn by the time they arrived. The kids were crying, and one ran past police officers to get close. “They’ve been around these animals their whole lives.” Philbrick said, adding that they’d held the sheep when they were little lambs. “The animals know them.”

PLI explained in a fact sheet provided to TBR News Media that the sheep are slated to get a private enclosure at Berkshire Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit farm in Massachusetts that rescues and rehabilitates “abused and neglected companion and farm animals,” according to its website.

Snowball, the old white pony, PLI’s fact sheet indicated, would move to a private farm “a short distance away from the Sherwood-Jayne Farm,” and would have access to another elderly pony and 24-hour veterinary care. 

PLI provided a statement Thursday suggesting it still planned to move the animals, without indicating when.

“Regrettably, the emotions of our property custodian and some protesters disrupted the attempt to gently move the animals yesterday, and that effort had to be paused. We continue to believe that Berkshire Farm Sanctuary will provide the humane and caring environment we seek for the grazing animals,” the statement read.

Compliance issues for Sherwood-Jayne

In an additional layer of complication for PLI, a Sept. 8 letter from the county procured by TBR News Media informed them the property is out of compliance with the Farmland Preservation Development Rights Program. Suffolk County and the Town of Brookhaven purchased development rights to the 10.6-acre farm parcel in 2003, requiring Sherwood-Jayne to maintain a working commercial farm. The county also owns the 36 acres directly north of the property.

A county statute about the program stipulates “no owner shall leave agricultural land uncultivated and not engage in agricultural production … for more than two consecutive years.”

The letter also informed PLI it needs to apply for special-use permits to host events like the recent Baseball on the Farm, and the nonprofit also needs to discontinue the practice of allowing nearby schools and camps to use the field for overflow parking.

According to PLI’s fact sheet, the organization met with Mikael Kerr, the county’s farmland and open space supervisor, Sept. 30 to talk through options of bringing the property into compliance with the program.

PLI has not provided details about those options, but it will need to create a plan to put forward for approval by the county’s farmland committee.

Though there was no indication the current animals staying at the farm would hinder that process, the effort to move the animals last Wednesday made clear the organization is so far not interested in rethinking the decision.

“We have made arrangements to rehome our animals to a private sanctuary, where they will peacefully live out the rest of their days in a beautiful, park-like environment,” PLI said in a statement.

But some area residents think the animals should stay. One protester, Judy Wilson, who has helped feed the animals during times Gatz needed coverage, twisted a lock of the pony’s coarse white tail she found in the grass as she watched the situation unfold.

“What has happened today is atrocious,” she said. “The animals don’t need rescuing.”

Herb Mones, land use chair of the Three Village Civic Association, also came to the farm to show support. He took issue with the way the nonprofit handled a delicate situation, because the last the community heard, the plan to move the animals was on pause.

“We are quite shocked that something like this would happen by any organization that depends upon Long Island communities’ support,” said Mones, who is also president of the Three Village Community Trust, another organization that acquires and preserves local properties of historical importance. “These are really actions that go beyond anything that’s reasonable. It just amazes me.”

Gatz said she was touched that so many neighbors and friends stopped by — some who noticed the commotion while driving by and others who got calls to support the effort to keep the animals at the farm.

“People love this place, and they care about these animals,” she said. “I want them to stay here. This is their home, and I don’t know why [PLI] doesn’t understand that.”

Author Carl Safina with Alfie

Reviewed by John L. Turner

Perhaps it’s due to an owl’s forward facing eyes, imparting a humanlike aspect to its face, that is the source of the long-held belief that owls possess great wisdom and intelligence. Actually other birds, most notably members of the crow family like ravens, crow, and blue jays do best in intelligence tests but you wouldn’t know it from the photo of Alfie, a screech owl, that adorns the cover of Carl Safina’s new book Alfie & Me: What Owls Know, What Humans Believe. With an intense stare suggesting human level concentration possessing sickle shaped talons clutching the branch, Alfie is a vibrantly alive bird,  an impressive predator that fully “knows” how to be an owl.    

The book involves the author raising a young screech owl dealt a terrible hand that would have been a fatal one were it not for the intervention of the author. Along the way Alfie learns to become more independent, finds a mate and raises a family of three.     

Author Carl Safina

What becomes immediately clear and what I did not know despite being neighbors and friends of Carl and Patricia, but what I should have known given their abiding and deep interest in the natural world, is just how much time they spent closely watching Alfie reach her potential, blossoming into a fully functioning adult owl, one member of a five member family — all during the COVID pandemic. 

They both, but especially Carl, spent what must be hundreds of hours observing Alfie.  And as a reader of the book will soon discover, this world enlarges with the appearance of her mate Plus-One and the logical results of Plus-One appearing on the scene — three young baby screech owls. These babies, individually and together, are variously described as: “little spheres of fluffiness,” “a fat ball of a baby,” and a “fluff-jacketed cutie.” The quintet were named “The Hoo,” who together “remained down-jacketed, fluffy, light as the clouds above them.”

In this way the book is a classic story of a scientist delving deeply into the world of a wild animal, along the lines of Douglas Chadwick’s The Wolverine Way, Bernd Heinrich’s Mind of the Raven or Maria Mudd Ruth’s detailed study of the Marbled Murrelet in Rare Bird. There’s exploration and analysis, observation and interpretation, study and understanding, and most importantly the development of a strong relationship. 

What’s unique in Alfie & Me is this all takes place in an acre or so around their suburban home, and within that area most within a 50-foot envelope around the house. This story, the development of an intimate “around the house” wild bird-human relationship, ties Alfie & Me with Julie Zickefoose’s Saving Jemima, in which the author spends a good part of a year raising a blue jay to health and independence. There are many delightful parallels between the two books.  

Unlike Safina’s earlier books like Song for a Blue Ocean, A Sea in Flames, Voyage of the Turtle, and Eye of the Albatross, Alfie & Me, is more of an extension of, and elaboration upon, some of the concepts advanced in Safina’s three most recent books: The View from Lazy Point, Becoming Wild and Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. These later books explore the intellectual, emotional, and sensory world of animals, their societies and culture, and complexities in the relationship and attitudes of humans with other life forms, specifically, and the natural world generally. 

A fundamental aspect of the book is, of course, the interspecies relationship between a few humans and a few owls with colorful side notes on a few dogs and a flock of chickens; an overlapping connection between the one world of the two species, the author aptly emphasizing Alfie being able to place “a wing in ours, I, with a foot in hers.” Or “….the ability to walk the bridge Alfie had opened between their world and ours.”  

The Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) is one of two common woodland owls that find breeding habitat here on Long Island. Along with their much larger cousin, and sometimes mortal enemy the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), Screech Owls are surprisingly common in forests both large and small. Even parcels as small as ten acres are likely to host a breeding pair. Less common woodland owls here include Saw-whet (Aegolius acadicus) and Long-eared Owls (Asio otis) “whoo” are joined by open country visitors during the winter months — Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) and Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus), coastal and grassland inhabitants respectively.  

And unique to the owl species found in eastern North America, screech owls come in two color forms or morphs. Alfie and Plus-One are red or rufous morph individuals which is the more common form on Long Island. Or as Safina notes “a magical russet comet.” The grey form, however, is more common throughout the species range.  

Safina is a highly gifted writer, quite adept at turning a phrase and the book is replete with colorful imagery and strong sentences, to wit: “I have always felt that my generation existed in a time spanning the last good years and the beginning of the end of the world,” “The air was stock still. Leafy canopies of maples and the spires of cedars formed a denser darkness against the star-studded vault of space”,  and “If they fell to the ground, they’d still climb straight up a trunk, but they were also realizing that crossing distances involved flapping their interesting upper limbs. In a way, they were finding their inner owl.”  

This book would be a worthwhile read if all it presented was a highly articulate description of  screech owls and their behavior and ecology. But it’s so much more. Alfie provides a feathered springboard for the author to discuss how western thought, espoused by western thought leaders (think Descartes, Bacon, Dawkins, et al.) has led to the dangerous result and our current predicament where so many members of human society are estranged from animals and nature with the resultant deterioration of the global environment. Their “reductionist” thinking of animals as being nothing more than soulless machines incapable of thoughts, emotions, even the ability to feel pain, was all pervasive resulting in the view that humans commanded a lofty and unique perch above lowly forms of life that gave them full dominion over all animals.   

In contrast, Safina documents, Eastern and North American Indigenous cultures and religions held views that better harmonized humankind with the animal kingdom and the natural elements of the world. A world with more passion and less consumption. Clearly, the book is an exploration of proffered beliefs, strongly held. 

This book also is an exultation of life and living things, a fundamentally and qualitatively unique aspect in this otherwise lifeless universe, a concept that Safina notes and embraces and Alfie illustrates. Life is something worth celebrating, cherishing, and protecting. “The owls gave us the opportunity to pay attention. That was their main gift to us: to be present for a while in the always magical here and now.”

Through Safina’s prose we all can take delight in his decision to intercede and change what was clearly a fatal trajectory for Alfie. We are all the richer for his intervention. Safina ends: “It was amazing how quiet and empty the air could feel once you subtracted owls. But now I knew they were out there, livening up the nights with or without me. Yes, I felt an empty nester. But I’d been dealt a full house, a winning hand.”   

Both Carl and Alfie have a lot to say. And we gain pleasure in listening. Alfie & Me is a most important book and a most compelling and worthwhile read — we too have been dealt a winning hand. 


Welcome to the 23rd edition of Paw Prints, a monthly column for animal lovers dedicated to helping shelter pets find their furever home.

Angel Baby

Meet Angel Baby

“Most of us have been told angels have wings, some of us have learned they have paws.” An 11-year old Poodle mix, this heavenly little lady is Angel Baby at Little Shelter in Huntington. Though visually challenged, she is an active participant in her senior playgroup, not letting anything get in the way of socializing and having a good time with her friends. Trusting and brave, she (like any dog!) always sees the best in people and gives her love unconditionally. Stop by to meet Angel Baby….it amazing how someone so small can lift your spirits and fill your heart everyday. 631-368-8770, ext. 2


Meet Dumpling

In Chinese culture, the Dumpling signifies comfort, hope and prosperity. This 11-year- old Pug mix at Little Shelter in Huntington has an even temperament, great charm, and an outgoing, loving disposition making him an ideal companion and perfect fit for most any family. Relishing being close to “his” people, Dumpling likes to cuddle on the comfy couch, accompany you on errands, and take a nice stroll around the neighborhood. He has a good sense of humor and will completely delight you with his antics. Stop by to meet a Dumpling you can truly savor! **Fun fact** A group of pugs is called a grumble! 631-368-8770, ext. 21


Meet Misty

This beautiful girl is looking for the love of a lifetime. She arrived at Brookhaven Animal Shelter after being found with another dog. She is 56 pounds and is estimated to be about to seven to eight years young. All she is seeking is your love and attention. Misty loves to go for walks, she will automatically sit for cookies which she is very gentle about taking, but her favorite thing to do is cuddle up next to you. She will do best with kids over 12 years old, no cats and she will need a meet and greet with a dog. 631-451-6950


Meet Sage

“A dog wags its tail with its heart.” Sage is an optimistic six-year-old Pit mix at Little Shelter in Huntington that always views the glass (or water bowl!) as half full, trusting that her best life is just around the corner. Happy, affectionate, and outgoing, she is hoping to become part of an active family with no other pets that will take her lots of walks and adventures, followed by some downtime with her favorite toy and perhaps a treat or two! This beauty checks all the boxes….she’s loving, loyal, and loads of fun! Follow some Sage advice and stop by Little Shelter today! 631-368-8770, ext. 21


Cuteness Overload

Check out these gorgeous kitties, Chestnut, Spunky, Glitzy and Nutmeg, currently up for adoption at Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton. Stop by the shelter (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily) to meet them or fill out an adoption application ahead of time at 631-727-5731 ext. 1

Check out the next Paw Prints in the issue of December 14.

Paw Prints is generously sponsored by Mark T. Freeley, Esq.


Photo by Anthony Grimaldi


Anthony Grimaldi of East Setauket snapped this cool photo of a seagull taking a treat from his fiancé Gloria Parker in midair in Montauk on Oct. 28. He writes, “My fiancé is a behavioral analyst and it was remarkable how she was able to instill trust in this one particular seagull.”

Send your Photo of the Week to [email protected]

Miss Baker

This week’s featured shelter pet is Akneada Baker, an 8-year-old calico up for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter.

Akneada (pronounced Anita) Baker earned her name because she loves to sing and move her feet like she’s kneading. She was found as an emaciated and underweight stray with severe dental problems that had infected her sinuses and upper airway. She has since had an incredible recovery, and she’s now back to a healthy weight and is looking amazing.

Akneada is a little ball of happiness and constant motion. All she needs is a home that will love her and pet her all day long. Sweet Akneada Baker is ready to find her happily ever after, and we can’t wait for her to end up in that special home.  Will that be with you?

If you would like to meet Miss Baker, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with her in a domestic setting.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Visitor hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit

A Jamaican fruit bat, one of two bat species Scheben studied as a part of his comparative genomic work. Photo by Brock & Sherri Fenton

By Daniel Dunaief

Popular in late October as Halloween props and the answer to trivia questions about the only flying mammals, bats may also provide clues about something far more significant.

Despite their long lives and a lifestyle that includes living in close social groups, bats tend to be resistant to viruses and cancer, which is a disease that can and does affect other mammals with a longer life span.

Armin Scheben

In recent work published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution, scientists including postdoctoral researcher at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and first author Armin Scheben, CSHL Professor and Chair of the Simons Center for Quantitative Biology Adam Siepel, and CSHL Professor W. Richard McCombie explored the genetics of the Jamaican fruit bat and the Mesoamerican mustached bat.

By comparing the complete genomes for these bats and 13 others to other mammals, including mice, dogs, horses, pigs and humans, these scientists discovered key differences in several genes.

The lower copy number of interferon alpha and higher number of interferon omega, which are inflammatory protein-coding genes, may explain a bat’s resistance to viruses. As for cancer, they discovered that bat genomes have six DNA repair and 33 tumor suppressor genes that show signs of genetic changes.

These differences offer potential future targets for research and, down the road, therapeutic work.

“In the case of bats, we were really interested in the immune system and cancer resistance traits,” said Scheben. “We lined up those genomes with other mammals that didn’t have these traits” to compare them.

Scheben described the work as a “jumping off point for experimental validation that can test whether what we think is true: that having more omega than alpha will develop a more potent anti-viral response.”

Follow up studies

This study provides valuable potential targets that could help explain a bat’s immunological superpowers that will require further studies.

“This work gives us strong hints as to which genes are involved, but fully understanding the molecular biology will require more work” explained Siepel.

In Siepel’s lab, where Scheben has been conducting his postdoctoral research since 2019, he is using human cell lines to see whether adding genetic bat elements makes them more effective in fighting off viral infections and cancer. He plans to do more of this work with mice, testing whether these bat variants help convey the same advantages in live mice.

Armin Scheben won the German Academic International Network Science Slam competition with his presentation on bat genomics.

Siepel and Scheben have discussed improving the comparative analysis by collecting information across bats and other mammals of tissue-specific gene expression and epigenetic marks which would help reveal changes not only in the content of DNA, but also in how genes are being turned on and off in different cell types and tissues. That could allow them to focus more directly on key genes to test in mice or other systems.

Scheben has been collaborating with CSHL Professor Alea Mills, whose lab has “excellent capabilities for doing genome editing in mice,” Scheben said.

Scheben’s PhD thesis advisor at the University of Western Australia, Dave Edwards described his former lab member’s work as “exciting.”

Edwards, who is Director of the UWA Centre for Applied Bioinformatics in the School of Biological Sciences, suggested that Scheben stood out for his “ability to strike up successful collaborations” as well as his willingness to mentor other trainees.

Other possible explanations

While these genetic differences could reveal a molecular biological mechanism that explains the bat’s enviable ability to stave off infections and cancer, researchers have proposed other ways the bat might have developed these virus and cancer fighting assets.

When a bat flies, it raises its body temperature. Viruses likely prefer a normal body temperature to operate optimally. 

Bats are “getting fevers without getting infections,” Scheben said.

Additionally, flight increases the creation of reactive oxygen species, which the bat needs to control on an ongoing basis.

At the same time, bats produce fewer inflammatory cytokines, which helps prevent them from having a runaway immune reaction. Some researchers have hypothesized that bats clear reactive oxygen species more effectively than humans.

A ‘eureka’ moment

The process of puzzling together all the pieces of DNA into individual chromosomes took considerable time and effort.

A Mesoamerican mustached bat, one of two bat species Scheben studied as a part of his comparative genomic work. Photo by Brock & Sherri Fenton

Scheben spent over 280,000 CPU hours chewing through thousands of genes in dozens of species on the CSHL supercomputer called Elzar, named for the chef from the cartoon “Futurama.” Such an effort would have taken eight years on a modern day personal computer.

During this effort, Scheben saw this “stark effect,” he said. “We had known that bats had lost some interferon alpha. What astounded me was that some bats had lost all alpha” while they had also raised interferon omega. That was the moment when he realized he found something novel and bat specific.

Scheben recognized that this finding could be one of many that lead to a better understanding of the processes that lead to cancer.

“We know that it’s unlikely that a single set of genes or a small set of genes such as we identified can fully explain the diversity of outcomes when it comes to a complex disease like cancer,” said Scheben.

A long journey

A resident of Northport, Scheben grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. He moved to London for several years, which explains his use of words like “chuffed” to describe the excitement he felt when he received a postdoctoral research offer at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

When he was young, Scheben was interested in science despite the fact that classes were challenging for him.

“I was pretty poor in math and biology, but I liked doing it,” he said.

Outside of work, Scheben enjoys baking dense, whole wheat German-style bread, which he consumes with cheese or with apple, pear and nuts, and also hiking.

As for his work, which includes collaborating with CSHL Professor Rob Martienssen to study the genomes of plants like maize that make them resilient amid challenging environmental conditions, Scheben suggested it was the “best time to be alive and be a biologist” because of the combination of new data and the computational ability to study and analyze it.

Scheben recognized that graduate students in the future may scoff at this study, as they might be able to compare a wider range of mammalian genomes in a shorter amount of time.

Such a study could include mammals like naked mole rats, whales and elephants, which also have low cancer incidence and long lifespans.

Pirates, puppies and pumpkins in Port Jeff … oh my!

By Julianne Mosher

Another rainy weekend might have canceled some of the Port Jefferson Oktober Harvest Fest’s first day of events, but it didn’t stop people from flocking to the village on a finally sunny Sunday.

Sponsored by the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and the Business Improvement District, in cooperation with the Village of Port Jefferson, the 2023 Oktober Fest’s original program had events starting at 7 a.m. — some indoors, some outside. While the show still went on during the rainstorm on Saturday, Oct. 21, for some, one big event had to be rescheduled to the following day — the annual costumed dog parade.

Located outside of Fetch Doggy Boutique on East Main Street, dogs from across Long Island suit up the week before Halloween every year and head with their owners to show off their adorable canine costumes. This year, on Sunday, Oct. 22, people still came out with their furry friends despite the original date’s cancellation, marching downtown resembling an array of characters including the toys from “Toy Story,” a cowboy, a race car driver and a peacock.

But that wasn’t the only fun thing happening. A chowder crawl featuring local restaurants had participants warmed up on Saturday, and country line dancing was set up once the clouds cleared later in the day.

On Sunday, with warmer and sunnier weather, families were able to enjoy a pumpkin harvest maze and patch outside the Village Center, admire scarecrows — fake and real — out and about throughout town or participate in a variety of events, including a pirate scavenger hunt, pumpkin decorating contest and a pie-eating contest. The possibilities were endless.

Walking throughout town were big-headed costumed characters as local businesses used the weekend of fun for other opportunities. Tabu Boutique opened its doors not to just sell its usual earrings, clothing and accessories but invited East Coast Canine of Manorville to help get French bulldog puppies adopted.

The line was out the door for people of all ages to play with, pet and sit with the puppies — who were just a few weeks old — in hopes of giving them a new home.

Emma Darling, a fourth grader at Edna Louise Spear Elementary in Port Jeff, was one of the eager kids waiting patiently on line to get a glimpse of the pups.

“This is my favorite part of the day,” she said. “The baby puppies are just so cute.”