MDOG hosts fourth annual Dog Festival
By Brenda Sullivan - ReminderNews
Manchester - posted Wed., Sep. 14, 2011
It would be difficult to say who had more fun at the MDOG Manchester Dog Festival held at Mt. Nebo Park on Sept. 10.
For the dogs, there were bags of goodies, free Frisbees, a kissing contest, AKC Canine Good Citizens certificates, a race and a free-for-all in the waters of the Globe Hollow swimming area.
For their two-legged friends, there were about a dozen information booths and a K-9 demonstration by the Manchester Police Department, as well as face-painting and reading with therapy dogs for the youngsters.
The welcome sunshine was a big boost for this, the fourth annual event. About 400 dog-lovers attended, according to one of the organizers, Alysia Duke. And this means hundreds of dollars were raised for construction of a Manchester dog park, the primary project of the Manchester Dog Owners Group.
The event also brought business owners and civic groups that provide services for dogs face-to-face with potential new clients.
One of the most popular booths was the Mobile Pet Vet service offered by veterinarian Dr. Kim Rio. The statewide service – which offers non-emergency pet care in the home – just recently launched. Not only did Rio get to explain her services to festival goers, she was able to network with trainers and groomers at the event, she said.
For Camp Bow Wow of South Windsor, this was the owners’ fourth year at the festival. “This is a good event – there are a lot of good dog people here – and it’s really well organized,” said Robin Mulcahy.
Dog trainer Sarah Althen, of Both Ends of the Leash, was kept busy throughout the festival as she administered the official AKC Canine Good Citizens test.
Dogs had to demonstrate their good manners by successfully completing 10 tasks, including walking calmly through a crowd, approaching another dog without incident, allowing a friendly stranger – in this case, Althen – to hold the leash as their owner walked away, and so forth.
Rick Messenger, of Enfield, and his 16-month-old pup, Chopper, sometimes stalled during the test because Chopper found all the activity at the festival more interesting, but they eventually passed and received their certificate.
Dan Gackowski, of Norwich, and his dog, Dagni, passed the test with ease. Gackowski said he wasn’t surprised because he’s done a lot of training with Dagni.
Another well-trained dog at the festival was a five-year-old yellow Lab, Tucker, accompanied by his owner, Laraine LeDuc. They are graduates of Bolton Veterinary Hospital’s “Allan’s Angels” therapy dog training program, and at the festival they talked to visitors about their visits to hospice centers, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other community groups.
At the Cold Noses, Warm Hearts booth, children joined Terrie Carpenter, of Coventry, and other volunteers to learn more about Reading Education Assistance Dogs. The program boosts a child’s confidence, competence and comfort with reading by having them read to the specially-trained dogs.
Michael, Sabrina and Keira Knapp, of Manchester, settled down with miniature collie Gracie and volunteer Dennis Gallagher to read “The Hungry Ants.” Their mother said the children read more than 500 books this summer as part of a program sponsored by the Wilton Library in Manchester.
For more information about MDOG, visit www.mdogct.com.