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article imageDowntown Toronto going to the dogs during Woofstock festival Special

By Andrew Moran     Jun 12, 2011 in Lifestyle
Toronto - Thousands of Toronto dog owners gathered in the St. Lawrence Market area in the downtown core for the ninth annual summer Woofstock, an all-dog festival that celebrates man's best friend(s).
In the United States, according to a Harris Poll, nearly two-thirds of all Americans have pets and consider them a member of the family. Here in Canada, a 2010 Harris Decima survey concluded that two-thirds of Canadians have a pet and that more than half of pet owners trust their little critter more than human beings.
It was a busy, tiring day for a dog; sniffing around, receiving endless treats, taking part in dog training classes and even getting a free consultation from a chiropractor. Indeed, it was a great day to be a dog.
On Saturday, the ninth annual Woofstock summer festival returned to the St. Lawrence Market area in downtown Toronto where thousands of dog owners, dog lovers and those in the dog industry gathered to celebrate this beloved animal.
North America’s largest dog festival was founded by Marlene Cook in order to memorialize her dog that passed away. “I don’t want to use the cliché but my dogs are part of the family. However, in Ontario, the laws are really strict. In Paris you can take your dog to a fancy eatery, and in Chicago they have a thing called a pug crawl where people can take their pugs to the bar. So we’re trying to give and outing for you and your dog,” said Cook.
This year’s event includes several shows, such as the “Best Costume Contest,” “Woofstock Fashion Show,” “Stupid Top Dog Contest” “Purino Pro Plan Dog Stars” and “Paws to Remember Memorial Service.”
There were also several areas of the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood that had vendors specializing in products made specifically for dogs, a dog training facility, health-related dog specialists, such as a chiropractor, and photo booths to either have a family portrait or have your dog take pictures with celebrity lookalikes.
“Some people look forward to Christmas, others can’t wait until it’s Halloween, but for me, ever since 2002, I’m always excited for this Woofstock,” said John Hampton, an owner of an English Bulldog, who sadly noted that he didn’t enter his beloved Vito into a contest this year.
“More and more people are loving their dog, cat, or whatever pet, more than any of their relatives. So this festival helps bring those people together and help make their dog feel as if they’re doing a family outing just for him or her.”
Hampton added that Woofstock is Vito’s Christmas.
Woofstock continues Sunday where many of the same stage events will happen. Saturday’s winners of the Ms. and Mr. Canine Canada Pageant will face off against Sunday’s Ms. and Mr. Canine Canada.
Click here for coverage of the Winter Woofstock that occurred in November.
(Please watch the video below for further images from this year’s Woofstock festivities.)
Specialty treats for dogs.
Specialty treats for dogs.
Big bowl of treats  thanks to Kijiji.
Big bowl of treats, thanks to Kijiji.
Dog taking part in training exercises.
Dog taking part in training exercises.
Dog receiving free consultation from a chiropractor.
Dog receiving free consultation from a chiropractor.
Winner of the  Stupid Top Dog Contest  boxing with its owner.
Winner of the "Stupid Top Dog Contest" boxing with its owner.
Dog climbing on owner s back similar to a monkey.
Dog climbing on owner's back similar to a monkey.
After a long day  a dog takes a nap.
After a long day, a dog takes a nap.
More about Woofstock, summer woofstock, Dogs, Animals, Toronto
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