Victor is channeling his inner Hugh Hefner.
Well, not really, he’s fixed. (Victor not Hef). But my dog is rocking his new silk smoking jacket microfiber bathrobe from Hapu, a small company I discovered at Kitchener, Ontario’s first annual Pet Expo in May 2016.
Yes, that’s right. I bought my dog a bathrobe. In fact, it’s the only product Hapu Bathrobes sells. And this Canadian-based company takes it seriously, pointing out the many practical uses such as keeping freshly bathed dogs warm as they dry, or keeping them cool in the summer by soaking the robe in cold water.
I asked the husband and wife team selling Hapu robes in Kitchener, on this Mother’s Day weekend, if they make the robes and they said, “Yes.”
I think they meant to say the robes are ‘designed’ in Canada but made in China … because that’s what it says on the box and tag.
Nonetheless, both pink and blue robes are cute complete with hood, velvet sash and ‘best friend’ crest across the back.
Hapu is one of the many pet industry small businesses at Kitchener’ first pet expo. Yes, recognizable brand names are here such as Royal Canine, Blue Buffalo and Nutram. But the four rows of vendors are primarily local folks including Countryside Boarding offering grooming, doggie daycare with splash pad and even hydro exercise pool for you and your pooch.
Also, Fur-Ever Loved Pet Salon with two locations in the city provides traditional grooming services … along with some attention attracting ‘custom styling’ services like covering a Shar Pei in camo. Amber’s Barkery, spearheaded by you-guessed-it Amber, is here selling fresh-baked all natural dog treats and boxed break-a-part birthday cookies.
KW Pet Expo isn’t all about dogs. Cats, rabbits, parrots, and even a regional rat rescue, are represented. Grassroots is a big part of the charm.
Sure, mega-pet expos serve a purpose, but I’m appreciating the rise of small town versions for two reasons: first, you’re not exhausted by the end of the day. Two, you’ll meet locals at each one. It’s like the farmers markets of the pet industry – a remarkably growing industry with fewer barriers to entry.
Both are good reasons to check out regional pet expos when you’re on the road, or maybe even plan a trip around dates of pet fests and check out a new city or two. Most expos are pet-friendly. Dogs and one pig attended in Kitchener and Victor, for the most part, did ok even when trying on the robe for size.
“I bought Victor a bathrobe,” I told my youngest nephew at a Mother’s Day brunch the next day.
He smirked and said, “That’s because you don’t have any kids.”
Maybe so. But this sure beats changing diapers. Beside, why shouldn’t my fur baby have one of everything?
Now does anyone know where I can score a cute set of doggie PJs? Blue preferably.
Check out a few other styles of dog bathrobes for your own fur baby on Amazon. There’s a variety available including ones from The Snuggly Dog and UrbanPup.
Travel Guide: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada is a city of 220,000 people located about 100 km west of Toronto. Kitchener is known for Oktoberfest, an annual festival celebrating the city’s German heritage since 1969. Oktoberfest is the largest Bavarian festival in North American with one of the best Thanksgiving Day Parades in Canada. Check out this Oktoberfest Cookbook available from Amazon.
Saturday mornings, the 130-year-old downtown Kitchener Farmer’s Market is popular with locals. Also downtown THEMUSEUM at 10 King Street in a converted department store claims to be ‘a new kind of museum focusing on ideas and experiencing rather than artifacts.’ The more traditional Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery is at 156 King Street West.
Wintertime, City Hall along King Street hosts an outdoor skating rink. In the summer, Bingaman’s Camping Resort is a popular family campground complete with sites for up to six people (and dogs). Cabins and yurts are also for rent but no dogs allowed. Also at Bingaman’s is a waterpark and indoor play area, and popular every Halloween is the ultra-creepy Screampark.
Kitchener is part of the Waterloo Region and of course, one of my favourite spots to visit is Conestoga River Horseback Adventures.