It was hardly a ruff time for pet owners and their pooches on Saturday, down at Eau Claire Market.
The return of Pet-a-palooza to Calgary, it’s sixth time visiting the city, meant there was a lot to see and a lot to do for Calgary’s dogs.
Among the highlights on July 23, were Corgi and Dachshund races, a swimming pool with on-duty doggie lifeguard, pet portrait stations, and more treats than you could chase a stick for.
“We’ve got a ton going on today,” said Jordan Illingworth, festival coordinator for Pet-a-palooza.
“We have 100 [booths] of the best-of-the best, from local retailers to rescue organizations, service providers, trainers daycares—anything you need for your dog we’ve got it here today,” she said.
The dog races proved to be bit hits with crowds, with many local pet owners putting their dogs racing skills, or sometimes lack there of, to the test.
Cory Bond brought his Corgi named Mocha to participate in the races. And although Mocha didn’t win her heat, Bond said it was adorable to watch her and the other Corgis race.
“It was fun—she had no idea what was going on—she finally made it there in the end, but it was a tough competition,” he said.
Bond said that he would be open to trying again next year.
Pandemic increased interest in dog ownership, dog businesses
Illingworth said that the pandemic shifted the level of interest in pet ownership, with new business opportunities for small businesses.
“There’s quite a bit of new business, like new online business—people have become very creative and the pet industry actually boomed through Covid,” she said.
Part of the message for the Pet-a-palooza wanted to share with the wider public was the need for responsible pet ownership.
Illingworth said that also includes having a quality and ethics standard for the vendors that they accepted at the show.
“We also think it’s really important that their people are responsibly able to take care of their dogs, so the nice thing is we have a vetting process for our vendors,” she said.
“The ones that are here today have been approved, and and they’re really part of our quality and ethics in the industry.”
Festival also a serious way of connecting the public to rescues
Pet-a-palooza also offered free booth space to rescue organizations at this year’s event.
“We think it’s really important that they can come and fundraise free of charge for further causes, and be able to share with the community,” said Illingworth.
Among the rescue organizations at Eau Claire was Alberta Dachshund Rescue, which serves to re-home one of the more difficult dog breeds to own.
Ladelle Pitcher, foster coordinator for Alberta Dachshund Rescue, had with her a 10-year-old female Dachshund named Charlotte, who has had six owners during her lifetime.
“A lot of them have anger issues or behavioural issues, and that’s why they were given up,” said Pitcher.
“A lot of times we can point them in a direction of trainer because our ideal way to go about this is not to take the dog from them but to actually give them the resources and help. But when you need to surrender then we will definitely be there for you,” she said.
Other reasons given by Pitcher for people giving up their Dachshunds were not being young-child friendly. Also the dogs having more serious health issues.
“Dachshunds are as much as people want them to be baby friendly, a lot of them are not, and most people don’t realize that,” said Pitcher.
She said that it can take a lot of work for some dogs to make them suitable around infants.
Pitcher also said that she wanted to inform the public that it’s possible to rehabilitate Dachshunds from injury without surgery through methods like physiotherapy and water therapy.
Pet-a-palooza continues on Sunday, July 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.