VOLCANO - It was a dog's life at Mountwood Park once again Sunday for beloved pooches and their owners.
Over 300 people and their canine friends came to the park for the fifth annual Woof Fest, which featured a number of events, demonstrations and vendors geared for dog owners and their pets.
"Things have gone really well," Peggy Squires, chairwoman for Woof Fest, said Sunday afternoon. "The weather is cooperating and we have had a really good turnout."
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Cocco, a half Chesapeake Bay Retriever and half Chocolate Lab, was ready to enter the costume contest Sunday at the fifth annual Woof Fest held at Mountwood Park.
Sunday's event featured demonstrations involving an obstacle course to show obedience and agility put on by the Parkersburg Obedience and Training Club as well as dock dog demonstrations where dogs jumped into the lake and were judged on their jumping distance and height as well as how fast they could retrieve.
Other activities included a Dog Poker Walk, dog blessings, a costume contest, a tail wagging contest, a dog/owner lookalike contest, best dog smile, cutest dog trick and a Little Miss, Junior Miss and Miss Woof Fest Pageant. A hot dog bobbing event was one of the most popular activities of the day for both the animals and their owners.
Many people commented about how the festival was a good chance to get their dogs out to socialize with other dogs and people, Squires said.
"We want people who came out to enjoy time with their dogs and their families," she said. "We want people to learn that dogs need to be socialized and can get along together so everything works out well."
Ginny Haas, of Ironton, Ohio, was part of the Buckeye Dock Dog Club which came to Mountwood Park to conduct the dock dog demonstrations. She had Cocco, her half Chesapeake Bay Retriever and half Chocolate Lab, with her, who she eventually entered in the costume contest.
"This is our fourth year," she said the club coming to Woof Fest. "They get wet all day, but when they had pet costume contest, I thought 'What the heck' and did it.
"I like it out here," she said of Mountwood Park's lake. "The dogs can jump naturally off the low docks. We want to get people involved if they want to get their dogs wet and have some fun."
Squires said Buckeye Dock Dogs was working with people to see if a club could get started in the local area.
"It is a real popular sport in Ohio," she said. "It would be nice if we could have that in West Virginia.
"The dogs really seem to enjoy it."
Haas said the Woof Fest is continually growing and developing its offerings.
"I know it is still in the beginning stages, but they are doing a great job with it," she said. "We need something like this going on in the Huntington-Ironton-Ashland area."
Many dog owners at Sunday's event just enjoyed the chance to get out with their dogs and support an event that honors dogs.
Little Hocking resident Mark Pugh brought his dog Tally, a dog of unknown breed that he adopted a few years ago from the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley in Marietta.
"We try to come out to most of the animal events put on to support the animals and have a good time," Pugh said. "The dogs love it.
"This event is perfect for owners and for the dogs, too. They get out and around other dogs. It is just like people socializing. They get out and it is good for them. The next thing you know, they are a better dog. It is good for everybody."
Sherry Riser, of Parkersburg, was at the event with 4-year-old Willow Richman. Riser saw the event mentioned on Facebook and thought they would check it out. It was the first time they had been to Woof Fest.
"We thought we would come and check the dogs out," she said. "I think it is great. There are a lot of different dogs, different breeds and all kinds of stuff."
Riser said their family does not have a dog, but would eventually like to get one. She mentioned Mountwood Park has a nice dog park available.
"If I had a dog, I would definitely come back next year," she said.
One of the dogs Willow was interacting with was Gunner, a Standard Poodle, who was made up to look like Big Bird by Boxers Bed and Biscuits of Little Hocking.
Jennifer Seaman. a groomer with Boxers, said Woof Fest has been great in getting word out about their business.
"We have passed out a lot of flyers and given out a lot of information," she said. "Of course, the dogs have gotten a lot of love from us.
"People have learned a lot of things about our facility that they might not have known if they had not come out."
Seaman said the event is a good chance for people to get out with their pets and have some fun.
"Any event like this is good for the community," she said. "It also gives people something to do."
Scott Blackwell, of Parkersburg, was showing off the talents of Daisy, his Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix. Daisy would "sing" along with a number of country songs Blackwell played on his truck's music system. A favorite of Daisy's was Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" and there were six other songs she really enjoyed.
"I was here three years ago," Blackwell said of the Woof Fest event. "I decided to come back today.
"I think it is great. It was good the first time I came out and it has gotten even better. It is nice for the dogs and for the people to mingle. It is nice for everyone to be together like this."