Saturday, November 27, 2010

Woofstock - Day One, From The Examiner

Hundreds of dogs made their way into the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto as part of the Winter Woofstock.  Golden Retrievers, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Labradors of all colours and Pomeranians all were at the festival. Social networking for dogs.  That is what Winter Woofstock was like for hundreds of dogs and dog owners that gathered at Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre for the first-ever event for all breeds of puppies and full-grown dogs.

What is Woofstock?
In an interview with the Metro newspaper, Marlene Cook, founder and organizer of Woofstock, stated touched upon how the idea came about: “I don’t want to use the cliché but my dogs are part of the family.  However, in Ontario, the laws are really strict.  In Paris you can take your dog to a fancy eatery, and in Chicago they have a thing called a pug crawl where people can take their pugs to the bar.  So we’re trying to give and outing for you and your dog.” Winter Woofstock is the largest North American indoor event for dogs that lasts for an entire weekend (Nov. 27 and 28).  The festival includes 130 specialty vendors, competitive events for dogs, a VIP Lounge, pooch photo merchants and opportunities to take your picture taken with you (optional), your dog and Santa Claus. “Dogs are part of the family too,” said Cook in a press release.  “So we’re teaming up with Santa to bring the holidays to your beloved pooch.” Saturday’s festivities included a dog fashion show, which had award-winning comedians Nathan Macintosh, Paul Bellini, Rob Trick and Tm Dorsch as celebrity judges to pick the best dog.

Specialty vendors
Dozens of vendors were extremely busy during the event as they promoted their latest product that would beneficial for dogs, including many organic products, clothes and bedding, gigantic dino bones, dog decorations and delicious treats that look edible for humans. Two unique retailers that received a lot of attention were artificial grass squares and a treadmill for dogs. Even though the grass squares were scattered all over the Direct Energy Centre’s Heritage Court, the squares were being advertised as an in-home product that would avoid dogs making mistakes at the cost of a carpet or hardwood flooring. A lot of dogs, including a German Sheppard, a Basset Hound (see video), a Shih Tzu and others, all attempted to run the treadmill but could not keep up with the speed and slid back.  The purpose of the doggie treadmill is to keep the animal exercised and fit.

Owner response
Even though humans and dogs were being trampled on throughout the entire 10-hour event, owners were satisfied with the event. Peter, a proud owner of a Golden Retriever named Trevor, said that he is likes to make his dog as sociable as possible and this is a perfect venue to do it: “Trevor is a loveable dog and just wants to have as many friends as possible.  And after today, he’ll have at least a dozen more friends, and treats of course.”  He noted that Trevor will go to sleep early on Sunday evening. Nicholas, the master of Nick Jr., a cute Pug, told Digital Journal that this is probably one of the few times of the year that dogs can do whatever they want in a public setting without being frowned upon by “arrogant non-dog owners.”
“If there was a doggie heaven, this certainly would be it.  After only 10 minutes inside, I saw at least 7 dogs trailing each other and sniffing each other’s butts.  I love dogs and I go to Woofstock during the summer but I think it’s a great addition in the winter time.” Indeed, it was like “doggie heaven.”  The dogs were able to sit in big comfortable beds, be treated like the kings and queens of Europe, urinate on a wall without getting flack from the general public and have their own VIP Lounges. Winter Woofstock continues on Sunday.  It is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Direct Energy Centre’s Heritage Court and Hall F.  Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children under 12 are free. For more information, click here. Woofstock returns on Jun. 11 and 12, 2011 at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market.  The annual event features a weekend of celebratory events for dog culture.  More than 300,000 dog owners attend the 8-hour event.

*examiner.com

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