Crazy about pets: Hanging with your mutt
Mark your social calendar with these dog-happening events, from WooFStock to a moonlit hike in the woods.
HOWLoween Pets on Parade 2010. Courtesy Capital Area Humane Society.
This just might be the best time ever to be a dog in Columbus.
“Ten years ago, there were hardly any events for dogs,” says Marcia Perry Rhoades, founder of BarkPark in Delaware. “Now, it’s exploding.”
BarkPark was the only dog park in Central Ohio when it opened in the early 2000s, Rhoades says. Now, there are about 15, most of them free. “And there are all sorts of events for dogs and all the different rescue groups are hosting events,” she says.
There are so many dog happenings that it’s hard to keep track of them. One of the best ways to stay in the loop is BarkPark’s monthly e-newsletter, which includes a detailed list of dog-related gatherings. To receive the newsletter, e-mail Rhoades at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhoades also recommends Dog Park Finder, a free iPhone app that locates dog parks in Central Ohio and throughout the country (quite helpful if you’re traveling with your dog).
The following is a partial list of upcoming events for you and your dog to attend together over the next several months.
Paws in the Plaza
Bring your dogs to Olde Gahanna the first Thursday of every month from 4:30 pm to dusk for this popular pooch event. It starts in April—and the last one of the year is held in November, all at the Creekside Plaza at Mill Street. Highlights include raffles, giveaways, free nail trimmings for dogs, souvenir photos with your dog and an animal communicator to help you know what your dog is thinking.
For more info: oldegahanna.com/paws_in_the_plaza
Dog’s Night Out at Graeter’s Ice Cream
Participating Graeter’s shops host this event the first Wednesday of the month from 6 to
9 pm May through September. Dogs receive a free sample of Frosty Paws, a frozen treat with no added sugar, artificial flavors or colors—and owners can get whatever they want.
Find contact information at graeters.com to see which stores are participating.
Dog’s Night Out at Rita’s
At participating Rita’s stores, your dog gets a free bowl of custard with a dog bone on the first Monday of the month from 5 to 9 pm May through September. (It is held the first two Monday evenings in September.)
Find contact information at ritasice.com to see which stores are participating.
Howl @ the Moon
Aug. 13, Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 6
These 3.5 mile “moon walks” with your dog are sponsored by and held at Highbanks near Delaware. It’s free and begins at 8 pm at the park’s Nature Center.
For more information: reservations.metroparks.net/programs/46/Highbanks.html
Fifth Annual Defend Your Friend 5K Run/Fun Walk
Can you run with the hounds? You and your dog will get a chance to find out at this annual five kilometer (3.1 mile) race at Homestead Park in Hilliard. It is organized by the Capital Area Humane Society and benefits the organization’s animal cruelty investigations department, which covers all complaints in Franklin County. There’s also a one-mile fun walk.
The race and run attract about 200 people—and 50 to 70 dogs. “How many dogs depends on the weather, how hot it is,” says Mary Hiser, development manager at CAHS, which also holds several other events throughout the year. “If it’s really hot and you haven’t run your dog, it’s not a good idea.” There will be plenty of water for you and Fido, though. Registration is $25 until Aug. 11 and $30 after.
For more information: cahs-pets.org
Agility Trial Competition
Dogs are great athletes and this event showcases their many talents. Sponsored by the Buckeye Region Agility Group (BRAG), this competition is sanctioned by the United States Dog Agility Association. Dogs are timed and judged as they climb ladders, leap over obstacles, race through tunnels and weave around poles. BRAG holds a series of agility competitions throughout the year. They are free and take place at Liberty Park in Powell.
For more information: bragagility.com
Dog Days of Summer
The Westerville Visitors and Convention Bureau holds a big event on the fourth Friday of the month—and in August it’s all about the dogs. The annual Dog Days of Summer includes a Best on the Street dog show, in which participants take their dogs to each of the five judges scattered throughout the uptown area. They are judged in several fun categories. This is followed by the Mutt March, with dogs parading down the street—some even in costumes. There’s live music and vendors selling dog-related products, representatives from rescue groups and dogs available for adoption.
This is a free event and runs from 6 to 9 pm.
For more information: visitwesterville.org
It’s just like the original Woodstock, minus the drugs and plus the dogs, notes Columbus Dog Connection, organizer of this annual day of mutts and music in the woods from noon to 5 pm.
There will be plenty of bands at this fundraiser to help homeless dogs and cats. WooFstock is held at the scenic Camp Mary Orton, just north of I-270 on High Street in Worthington. Tickets are $15. Children 12 and under are free.
For more information: columbusdogconnection.com/WooFstock2011.htm
There’s nothing like a dip in the pool to cool off and make your dog happy. Several swim clubs set aside a day just for dogs at the end of the year (during the first two weeks of September), after they’ve closed their pools to humans for the season. Check with swim clubs for dates and times. Most require you to register and pay a fee that ranges from $3 to $12. The BarkPark e-newsletter will list all the dog swims in an upcoming issue.
Swim clubs that participated in 2010 include Reynoldsburg Swim Center, Grandview Pool, Hilliard East Pool, Groveport Aquatic Center, Delaware’s Mingo Park Jack Florence Pool, Gahanna’s Hunters Ridge Pool, Dublin Community Pool South and Grove City’s Big Splash.
Second Annual Barkin’ For Batten Charity Dog Walk
Batten disease is a rare and fatal degenerative neurological disease that affects children—and some breeds of dog. There is currently no treatment or cure. All the proceeds from this walk in Hannah Park in Gahanna benefit the Batten Disease Support & Research Association. The event includes a one-mile fun walk, a “cookie” walk, tricks contest and hot dog bobbing. Registration opens at 10 am and the walk starts an hour later.
For more information: barkinforbatten.com
HOWLoween Pets on Parade
Dogs seem to enjoy dressing up in elaborate costumes, or maybe this is just what their owners want to believe. Anyway, there’s an annual costume party for dogs—and other kinds of pets—at Easton Town Center. It is organized by and benefits the Capital Area Humane Society and attracts up to 200 dogs. They’re judged in several categories by local celebrities. “Every year, we have a few brave cats, and one year we did have a pygmy goat dressed up like a bat with large wings,” says Mary Hiser of the Humane Society.
Registration is $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers.
For more information: cahs-pets.org
The inaugural Pupaween was so successful in 2010 that the Friends of the Alum Creek Dog Park have made this an annual event, although they’re still finalizing the date in October. Pupaween is a celebration of Halloween for dogs—and they get to dress up in costumes and participate in all sorts of games, including the always popular bobbing for hot dogs.
The event at the Lewis Center Dog Park is free, but participants are asked to donate pet food, which in turn will go to the Meals on Wheels of Delaware County. “If these Meals on Wheels people can’t get out to get their own food, then they can’t get out to get food for their pets,” says Ann Wennberg, president of Friends of the Alum Creek Dog Park. She adds these pet owners often are forced to share their Meals on Wheels food with their pets. “A dog or cat needs dog food or cat food and the person needs to eat all their meal to get the nourishment they need,” she says.
For more information: alumcreekdogpark.com
Seventeenth Annual Columbus Pet Expo
March 23-25, 2012
Held at Veterans Memorial, this is the city’s premier pet show and includes a slew of exhibitors, events and demonstrations.
For more information: columbuspetexpo.com
As the name suggests, this is a fun time for all dogs and their masters. This annual event is hosted by the Friends of the Alum Creek Dog Park and features a silent auction, rescue groups, live music, vendors and food. It’s free, although participants are asked to donate pet food that will go to the pets of Meals on Wheels recipients. The exact date for Pup-A-Palooza 2012 has not yet been set.
For more information: alumcreekdogpark.com