Marcia Schlegel isn't the type who normally takes in stray animals. But when she saw a tiny dog with matted gray hair hanging around a south Wichita convenience store on a sweltering afternoon three years ago, she made an exception.
Schlegel spent a week looking for the dog's owner. She checked the dog for an embedded microchip but found none.
The veterinarian who removed all but eight of the dog's teeth estimated that it was 10 or 12 years old. The vet said heatstroke may have driven the dog to the store that day.
"It's been perfect match ever since," Schlegel said Saturday as she and her miniature schnauzer, Sam, attended the 12th annual Woofstock at Sedgwick County Park.
The event, which is a fundraiser for the Kansas Humane Society and sponsored in part by The Wichita Eagle, included contests, races, music, food, photos by an Eagle photographer and a silent auction.
About 15,000 people and 5,000 dogs attended last year's event. With mostly sunny skies and comfortable temperatures, the park was packed again this year with dogs and their owners.
Although most of the owners probably knew all about their pets, Schlegel said she knew nothing about the first two-thirds of Sam's life. That's why she stopped in to see pet psychic Liz Fisher.
Throughout the day, Fisher had a steady line of dog owners willing to pay $20 for a session.
When it was Sam's turn, he sat in Schlegel's lap as Fisher asked some preliminary questions.
"He doesn't normally let me hold him," Schlegel said.
"Has he been to this before? Fisher asked.
"This is our first one," Schlegel said.
"This is a little bit high energy for him," Fisher said. "This a bit heavy. He's kind of nervous. He's aware of his size, and he's a little intimidated by all these dogs — especially the big dogs."
As Sam stood on the psychic's table, Fisher said she was able to pick up some of his thoughts.
"He's definitely a carnivore," she said. "He likes meat."
"Sometimes, when I go to McDonald's I get him his own hamburger," Schlegel said.
"But he doesn't consider himself spoiled," Fisher said. "He thinks you guys are pals."
"We are," Schlegel said. "I was hoping you could tell me a little more about his past."
After a few moments of reflection, Fisher had some thoughts.
"He doesn't have any really negative thoughts or feelings that he's been hanging onto," Fisher said. "He doesn't feel traumatized. He's happy. He's content."
Schlegel asked if Sam had a name in his first life. Fisher said he apparently did not.
"He was just there," she said. "He craves a lot of attention now because he didn't get that much before."
"Do you know how old he is?" Schlegel asked.
Fisher reflected some more.
"I see like around 4 or 5," she said.
Schlegel explained that the vet estimated Sam's age at 10 or 12.
"Life for him apparently began when you got together," Fisher said.
"OK, now you're making me cry," Schlegel said.
After the session, Schlegel said admitted she was reluctant at first to take Sam to a psychic.
"I really didn't know if I believed in a pet psychic," she said. "I really don't know that I do now, but it seemed like she knew what she was talking about."