Travel London, ON: Pawlooza Rocks with Dogs (even in the heat)

Pawlooza 2016

My dog Victor is zonked.

Too much heat, excitement and energetic dogs panting around him at Pawlooza, one of the biggest and best annual dog festivals in Southern Ontario. The August 20, 2016 event benefited both animal rescue organizations and an employment non-profit. (See last year’s coverage here).

Each year in August, the Plunkett family outside of London, Ontario opens their private estate and all its land – there’s a golf course, it’s that big – to hundreds of volunteers who organize Pawlooza, a dog festival attracting thousands of people, most with a dog and many with two or three.

I loved walking around the crowded rows of vendors, rescue organizations, and food trucks.

Victor didn’t.

The heat, mandatory leash and harness, and massive amount of dogs, many greeting him face-on without proper ceremony, didn’t put him in a good mood. Victor demands correct approach protocol. All this left him snappy.

Yes, outright snappy, and me on edge.

I had a tight hold on the harness, attempting to avoid all dogs and not just the usual suspects: unneutered males and Husky-type dogs that set him off.

“He’s frustrated,” animal communicator Nancy Roney told me when I visited her booth to discuss a future visit. “He’s sorry he’s frustrated, and he knows you don’t like it. But he responds to the energy around him, like you. I can tell you’re the same.”

Ok, so both Victor and I were a little edgy at Pawlooza, not being in sync with the day’s activities. I didn’t discover much for Victor to do early in the day – maybe a run first thing would have helped.

It is a fundraiser, I get that, and the $10 admission per car is reasonable. But each additional activity cost money: the small dog leash free fun was $5; the VIP tent was $5; dock diving was $5 (mostly labs participated); the lure course was … you get the idea.

Cruisin’ K9s performed in the Agility Barn – the group’s onsite practice venue. Milkbone had a constant line-up for dental checks.

Otherwise, a day at Pawlooza was mostly shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping. But Victor doesn’t. (UPDATE: My dog did, however, have a much better time the next year – see here)

Here’s what I found other than stuff, though I did buy from rescue organizations:

Pawlooza 2016

If you want to start your own business selling pet accessories, you have a lot of competition. There were many independent crafters creating collars and bow ties. All varieties and varying in quality and price. Hello Hanson, Paws Apparel, and Peachy Keen Pets were only a few.

Pawlooza 2016

We met pet communicator Nancy Roney who lives near Stratford, Ontario. She prefers to visit your home to meet your pet where it’s most comfortable. She also speaks to those who have passed, so I’ll have her over for a visit soon. Stay tuned.

We had our photo taken on the red carpet outside the VIP tent in front of the Pawlooza backdrop just like celebrities. It was almost a celebrity photo too. Note to self: comb hair before red carpet photos.

Pawlooza 2016

We took a DNA test with DNA My Dog from Kingston, Ontario. Guess what? I’m Victor’s real fur mom! Ok, I’m kidding. I don’t expect a Maury Povich moment, but I did have my dog’s DNA tested with a double swab on the inside of his mouth.

The festival discount price was $65 and we should get results, and a certificate suitable for framing, in two weeks. Stay tuned. (UPDATE: Turned out Victor was part Cocker Spaniel, Part Parson’s Terrier, and neither of his parents were purebreds).

Pawlooza 2016

Finally, Victor got a spray tattoo. He did last year too but this year we opted for a yellow bone. He rocked it.

Ok, so this year at Pawlooza, Victor got hot, pulled, sprayed and swabbed. I can see why he’s frustrated. Maybe a stroller next year will help.

While Victor didn’t have heat stroke – we stopped in the shade often, drank water frequently and took many ‘time out’ moments – it is possible for dogs to be seriously overheated. Watch for excessive panting and follow the advice here from PetMD.

One of my favourite pet first aid kits (and one I travel with) is from Kurgo and available here from Amazon.

Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.


  1. […] leash, walked for hours and reacted a couple of times to other dogs in his face. But rarely tired. One year, the heat was a lot for my pooch and a pet communicator told me he wasn’t loving the […]

  2. […] agility contests thanks to Cruisin’ Paws Agility Show (also part of Pawloosa in […]

  3. […] Pawlooza was ideal – not too hot and despite threatening to rain, it didn’t. We didn’t get DNA tested or spray painted ‘tattooed’ like we have previous […]

  4. […] Day and a fundraiser for a local animal shelter. Take your dog dock diving, go swimming in the Pawlooza pond, test your dog’s agility, run the lure course, go offleash in the FunZone, play frisbee in […]

  5. […] Day and a fundraiser for a local animal shelter. Take your dog dock diving, go swimming in the Pawlooza pond, test your dog’s agility, run the lure course, go offleash in the FunZone, play frisbee in […]

  6. […] Pawloosa, August 19, 2017 at Plunkett Estate, London, Ontario, CA […]

  7. lunalupus93 · · Reply

    The one about pet accessories really made me laugh! It is so true, there are soo many of them!! 😀

    1. I like to support the little guy… but wow.

  8. WE just got back from Polo in the Park in Ottawa where we spent the afternoon out and about watching Polo matches, dog agility, eating at food trucks, fancy hat contests, I got a massage etc. I think I liked that it wasn’t … shopping focused. The vendors were great but it wasn’t the driver the events were. And they had LOADS of tents for shade (or rain). I stopped going to the event in Toronto for the same reasons you point out here. Maybe next year you will join us for Polo in the Park!?

    1. Polo in the Park! I had no idea yes I’m adding it to my list. Awesome.

  9. This event sounds stressful even to me! My German Shepherd, who died a couple of years ago, wouldn’t have like this either. We used to go to competition events mostly Agility, which she loved, but … too many dogs for her liking. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Jeff Rosnick · · Reply

    I Really enjoyed reading the last post on Pawlooza. I flet for Victor on this one!

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Unfortunately he didn’t enjoy this one as much. He’s been busy this summer.

    2. It can be – I think the heat was too much. Next year I’ll go, without the dog.

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