Roxanne Tellier: Dog Day Afternoon

Roxanne DBAWISHey! When’s the last time you thought to yourself, “Gee, I wonder about my dog’s genetic makeup?” Well, wonder no more. I hit the Woofstock Dog Festival today, and there it was, the booth of my dreams.

Dog DNA Testing Booth

Really … Woofstock is a head space. Don’t even venture into downtown Toronto on the annual two day extravaganza unless you’ve got a heart full of woof. Dogs as far as the eye can see; big ones, little ones, short ones, enormously tall ones … and their masters, bless their poop tote bag holding hearts. It’s the longest, slowest and most smile inducing parade in town.

Shawn and Giz

My husband and I have been faithful servants to our canine (and feline) overloads for over twenty years, so we’re card-carrying crazy. Yes, we’ve spent more on dog treats than the family groceries many times over. Our visit to BC in 2001 was the last time we travelled, because “the dog doesn’t like flying.” Our house is fur-spackled, our cupboards overflow with dog paraphernalia, toys and medications, and it’s probably not a good idea to walk barefoot in our backyard.

In fact, we only bought our house in Scarborough because it had an enormous back yard, with lots of room so that the boys – yes, we call them the ‘boys’ – would have room to run. And poop. Oh, how they poop. Spring is a particularly fun time of year, when the snow melts, and we stage our own version of the Easter Egg hunt. Well, it LOOKS like chocolate, anyway.

So Woofstock is dear to our hearts. And Toronto is a city that loves dogs, at least on one level. Oh, you can’t bring them into stores, or allow them to join you on a patio, but gosh darn it! We’ve got more stores and gadgets and gizmos and crazydogloving tees and crazydogloving people than you can shake a stick at!

This year’s fest had a few interesting new booths. I will openly admit that I partake largely of the free samples that so many booths hand out. I figure we keep Milkbone, Beneful, Caesar, Blue Dog Bakery and the like in business the other 364 days of the year, so it’s all good. My bag o’ swag runneth over after I’ve cruised the booths. This year, I brought an accomplice to help me get double the goodies.

Princess

The Festival also has special events throughout the days. Purina Pro brings in their “Dog Stars,” there are experts available to answer your pressing doggy questions, and you can test your dog’s agility or canine style at the competitions. We ran into a few people who had been in the Best Costume Contest and the Ms. And Mr. Canine Canada Competition. Actually, it would have been hard to miss them, in their finery.  Meet Princess (Top) and Winston (Bottom), the Mohawked Pup.

Precious

And this lovely lady and her matching “Precious.”

One street vendor had adorable Newfoundland pups for sale. Just 72 days old, they were enormous, fluffy balls of squee. They will be about 6 times their current size by about two years of age. You’re gonna need a lot of room, if you take in one of these pups.

Dog Tired in the Red Carpet Room for Pets

It felt like there were miles of dogs, owners, tents, and barkers, in both senses of the world. You could buy anything from food to treats to doggie beds, collars, blankets, toys, and gadgets. I’ve got your Dysan DC34 Animal vacuum right here, and your Condo grass to the left. Step right up to the Canine Red Carpet, where we have a canapé table, doggy beds, and even sofas for the tired masters.

dogcarrierswith girls

Our little dog, the Gizminator, is 15 ½, and has a heart condition, so my husband spent most of the time carrying him. But we could have purchased a special dog stroller, had we been so inclined. Or a dog carrier. Not sure if I could have convinced Shawn to wear one of these though. Well, maybe if it came with the models …

samAnd kong

There’s just something amazing about dogs, be they beautiful and adorable, or so ugly only their mothers could love them. They laugh their way into your heart, and once you’ve been owned by a good dog, your life is never the same. We still mourn our handsome Sam, who left us in 2011 for the “Rainbow Bridge.”  Sam was a gorgeous Jack Russell with a voracious appetite for life, and an intense animosity towards cows. The dog park knew him as “the tree climbing dog,” who would terrorize any squirrel foolish enough to cross his path. His spirit was loving, and all who met him were in love with his foolish grin and noble bearing.  Part clown, part prince, a bit of our hearts went with him when he died, of healthy old age.

Still, we wouldn’t have missed those days with our boy for the world. He brought so much joy into our lives while he was with us, that it’s hard to imagine a life without an animal companion. A responsible pet owner doesn’t acquire a dog on a whim; you’re committing to that animal’s lifetime, and you had better be up to the job. You’re going to learn very quickly that your dog needs discipline, tempered with love, and that you will be growing up right alongside of him. You’ll take the food right out of your own mouth, if that’s what it takes, and you’ll steel yourself to long, cold walks in the winter, and a summer that’s less about relaxing on the beach, and more about tossing a ball until your arm aches.

And that’s why Woofstock is such a joy to attend. The Fest has had ten years to learn how to attract the dog crazy Torontonians, and hits the mark on all levels.  This was the tenth anniversary, and a barking success!

"Not much. Just chillin' ..."

Ah, it’s a beautiful thing, a man and his best canine buddy.

= RT =

Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. After years of doing things she didn’t want to do, she’s found herself working with a bunch of crazy people who are as batshit crazy and devoted to music as she is, and so she can be found every Monday at Cherry Cola’s, completely unable to think of anything funny to say, as the co-host of Bob Segarini’s The Bobcast. Come and mock her. She’s good with that. And she laughs. A lot. But not at you.

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