Jasper the dog is taken for a walk by an Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab volunteer. People and their pets are gathering on Dec. 9 for the organization’s reunion at the Moab Bark Park. [Photo courtesy of Katy Gullette]

Come for the fun, learn about dog nutrition, hear animal-behavior experts discuss canine problems — and maybe leave with a dog adoption.

Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab is hosting its first reunion dog party on Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Moab Bark Park.

Dogs that had once been taken care of at Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab and then separated through adoptions to their forever homes will have a chance to reconnect at the park from noon to 3 p.m.

“It’s always fun to see our adopters and their dogs around town,” said Katy Gullette, founder and executive director of Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab. “They frequently ask about the siblings of the pups they have adopted, or about other pups they knew about.”

While in the care of Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab, puppies of a single litter are bestowed with temporary “theme” names. After adoption, the organization’s records and theme names help to identify which dogs are related.

During the reunion, fur-baby parents will mingle and have time to learn about their dogs, including any potential medical problems among canine-blood relatives.

Moonflower Community Cooperative is donating coffee and tea for the reunion; solid foods, including dog treats, are not allowed in the dog park.

Three dog experts will be at the reunion to discuss canine training and behavioral issues.

Sue Sternberg spends much of her time on the road educating people about canine communication, body language and aggression thresholds. During her 35-plus years of experience in this field, Sternberg has been a dog-control officer, kennel and animal-care technician, dog trainer, behavior counselor, temperament evaluator, boarding-kennel owner and veterinary assistant.

Sternberg and her dogs also compete in a variety of dog sports and hold titles in competition obedience, agility, tracking, “nosework” and herding. She has authored numerous books and DVDs, and is the creator of the iPhone app “The Dog Park Assistant.”

For people who want to understand canine cultural behaviors, Judy Powers, owner of Powers with Animals, will be at the reunion to discuss how understanding dog behavior can lead to building better human-dog relationships. Powers with Animals is a Moab company that offers dog obedience training, behavior modification, walking, hiking adventures and pet-sitting at the dog owner’s home.

On the topic of canine nutrition, a representative from the Moab Barkery will be on hand at the reunion to answer questions.

Gullette said she established Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab, a nonprofit, to help connect people in the region with greater resources and adoption opportunities. Dogs have found adoption homes in cities like Salt Lake City; Grand Junction, Colorado; and Portland, Oregon.

“Two dogs were just adopted in California,” she said. “We have quite a few dogs in Illinois, and one dog in New Jersey.”

Gullette’s approach to finding forever homes for dogs can be summarized in one sentence: Come for some fun, and maybe leave with a dog.

“We almost certainly will have adoptable dogs at the reunion dog party,” Gullette said. “We have, in the last year, adopted out about 260 dogs.”

Gullette said the entire Moab community is invited to the reunion, including those people with dogs that were not adopted from Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab.

Adopted dogs gather for party with animal experts

“We almost certainly will have adoptable dogs at the reunion dog party.”

When: Sunday, Dec. 9, noon to 3 p.m.

Where: Moab Bark Park, corner of 100 East and 300 South

Cost: Free

Information: All people and dogs are welcome. Solid foods, including dog treats, are not allowed in the dog park. For more info about the event, visit www.facebook.com/underdogrescueandrehab.