Animal lovers are excited that the Woofa-Roo Pet Fest is once again returning to the area this year — an event people look forward to all year long which draws crowds from both near and far.
“We are thrilled that Woofa-Roo has become a hub for information, education, excitement and interacting with others,” says Director and Founder Lorene Clayton. “Animals break social barriers and even the most reserved person will reach out to another animal lover. There are instant bonds made between strangers every year.”
Now in its fourth year, the “Woofa-Roo Pet Fest” takes place Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit online for complete details.
Keep in mind the event has something for all pets, not just your fur kids! Held at the Libro Sports Complex, 3295 Meloche Road in Amherstburg, the cost to attend is $5 per person or $10 per vehicle, and Clayton says to call ahead for pricing on buses.
After testing the waters with the inaugural Woofa-Roo Pet Fest in 2013, Clayton is thrilled that attendance has continued to substantially increase each year, as well as the line-up of events and competitions. Last year, close to 12,000 people and 3,000 dogs, cats, horses, birds and exotics were on site. Clayton is hoping for the same or more this year!
For 2016 there are about 60 exhibitors, including several new ones such as Pawz Therapy and KenZart. Clayton adds there are also several vendors that are not only geared to pets, such as Livin and Lovin Life – positive apparel for people and pets — Sentry Windows and Doors, Avon, Tupperware and Sunset Gourmet.
New to “Woofa~Roo” this year is “Disc Dog,” an exciting toss and fetch competition with a frisbee.
“We are so excited to present this new sport at ‘Woofa-Roo’ with some top notch nationally ranked performing dogs in this sport,” states Clayton, adding the ‘Disc Dog’ competition is on Saturday only. This event has several different categories according to size and experience. It also has a men’s and women’s class of the longest toss and an amazing freestyle event.
Also new is the Woofa-Roo Gauntlet, which involves public participation in an obstacle course including hurdles, weave poles, a limbo bar and other challenges for dogs both big and small. Proceeds from this event benefit Danes in Distress.
Clayton explains that a big attraction of the event is the fact that there are internationally ranked dogs competing who have won competitions in the division of their sport in Canada and the U.S., such as the entire Windsor Police Service Canine Unit, which has earned top titles winning in competitions against significantly larger forces from the U.S. and Canada.
The entire Canine Unit is attending in full force with their entire squad of award-winning officers — both human and canine — and are doing a demonstration Sunday morning at 11 a.m., which is quite exciting to witness, declares Clayton.
“This is truly an honour to have these superior officers and canine athletes entertain our festival,” expresses Clayton. “It’s such a rare occurrence to have them demonstrate their skill as a team in public. We are thrilled.”
It’s hard to say how many dogs are adopted at the festival each year as they do not allow the sale or adoption of the animals right at the event. But Clayton adds it’s always significant and many people sign up and apply to adopt or become a foster caregiver.
“Last year applications were completed for all available greyhounds and many more people were on a wait list,” proudly states Clayton.
On another note, she encourages people to read the festival’s pet policy online before bringing your dog.
“If your dog is not comfortable in crowds, please leave them home,” Clayton suggests. “Only one dog per adult and please keep them on a lead no longer than six feet long, and we’d like to remind people to ask before they approach or pet a strange dog.”
Vaccinations are mandatory and puppy owners are asked to keep their young ones who haven’t had all their vaccines yet, at home. Water stations are available to keep your dog hydrated and there is a climate controlled indoor segment of the festival.
There are silent auctions and several charity events benefitting local organizations, including the “Dock Diving Splashes” and “Treasure Hunts.”
“Our festival is fun, it’s exciting and we have a huge charitable component,” Clayton comments. “Our festival has helped our rescues and charities with thousands of dollars. Dozens of foster homes and countless adoptions have been made possible through Woofa-Roo.”
Biz X Magazine is again sponsoring the “Flyball” portion, a high-octane event Clayton describes as “fun on so many levels” and a great demonstration of speed, athleticism, practice and perfect timing, which makes it “a wild experience to watch.”
Pet-Ucation exhibitors and presentations take place indoors throughout the weekend.