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.
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)
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Here’s what I found other than stuff, though I did buy from rescue organizations:
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.
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.
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).
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 30 years and travel writer for the last 20. 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.