Wagging tails and excited barks filled the streets around St. Lawrence Market on the weekend as dogs and dog lovers gathered to celebrate all-things canine.
Woofstock, North America’s largest festival for dogs, took place June 11 and 12. About 300,000 visitors were expected at the event, which launched in 2003.
“I think of Woofstock as my heaven on Earth,” said Andrea Thompson, a dog walker with A Leg Up Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Service. “Although I love all animals, dogs have a special place in my heart and Woofstock is the place to be if you’re a dog lover.
“I look forward to it all year.”
Woofstock featured more than 100 vendors and exhibitors offering a variety of pooch-focused products and services, including food, doggie wear, rescue agencies and dog walking.
“For decades, dogs have become more and more a part of our families in North America,” said Nigel Ryce, part owner of A Leg Up. “Woofstock is a totally unique way to tip our hats to our canine companions and all they bring to our lives.”
The festival is also an excellent education for dogs’ human companions, Thompson said.
“It is an opportunity for a dog owner to learn of products and services that are beneficial to their pet that they were previously unaware of,” she said.
Ryce agreed, adding “owning a dog is a commitment”.
“It’s a commitment to be a constant caregiver, of course, but also to learn more about what your dog needs and how he or she thinks,” he said. “For anyone considering hiring a dog walker or pet sitter, the most important thing is to ensure you’re comfortable as a client.”
Finding that comfort level isn’t just beneficial to dogs, Thompson said.
“I can honestly say my training changed my life,” she said. “Before I was someone who reacted to stressful situations with anxiety and lack of confidence, and now I am a calm and confident pack leader.
“I am continually taking training workshops provided to A Leg Up staff on how to address issues such as pulling, leash aggression, ball obsession, excessive barking and endless others that allow us to offer the best services to our clients.”
Missed Woofstock this weekend ? Not to worry. The winter edition of the festival is set for Nov. 19 and 20. For more information, visit woofstock.ca.